Maputo — The Indian company ONGC Videsh, a wholly owned subsidiary of the state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), has announced that it intends to increase its stake in Area One of the Rovuma Basin, off the coast of the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado from 10 to 20 per cent.
The Rovuma Basin Area One consortium is led by the United States company Anadarko, and has discovered huge offshore deposits of natural gas. Anadarko has announced its intention to sell 10 per cent of the shares in Area One, which would reduce its own holding from 36.5 to 26.5 per cent.
The chairperson of ONGC Videsh, DK Sarraf, cited by the Indian press, has said that his company has made a proposal to Anadarko. However, he did not announce how much ONGC Videsh is prepared to pay for the shares. The paper "Economic Times" says the price asked for by Anadarko is at least 2.6 billion US dollars.
Recently, ONGC Videsh, in partnership with Oil India Ltd, bought the 10 per cent of Area One previously held by the private Indian group Videocon for 2.48 billion US dollars. When it acquired this stake, Videocon paid just 75 million dollars. This acquisition, announced on 25 June, requires approval from both the Indian and the Mozambican governments.
The shareholding structure of Area One, prior to the ONG Videsh/Oil India purchase was: Anardarko, 36.5 per cent; Mitsui of Japan, 20 per cent; Videocon, 10 per cent; Bharat Petroleum, also of India, 10 per cent; PTT of Thailand, 8.5 per cent; and Mozambique's publicly owned National Hydrocarbon Company (ENH), 15 per cent.