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BP, Reliance Natural Gas Project Offshore India to Reduce LNG Dependence

BP plc and Reliance Industries Ltd. on Thursday said they plan to bring 1 Bcf/d of natural gas capacity onstream between 2020 and 2022 from three deepwater gas fields offshore India that hold an estimated 3 Tcf of discoverable resource.

London-based BP and India's largest private sector employer are budgeting $6 billion total to develop the three fields and plan to work jointly across a wide range of areas throughout India's energy sector.

BP in 2011 took a 30% stake in multiple blocks in India operated and majority controlled by Reliance, including Block KGD6, where the three gas fields are located. Niko Resources Ltd. owns a 10% stake.

"This is an important step forward for BP in India," BP Group CEO Bob Dudley said. "Working closely together, Reliance and BP are now able to develop these major deepwater gas resources offshore India efficiently and economically. It is testament to our commitment to working in partnership with Reliance and with the government to produce more energy in India, for India."

Moving ahead with the offshore gas project “continues the trend of BP being the most active company recently to sanction projects,” said Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. Inc. (TPH) analysts. BP last year sanctioned a $9 billion expansion of Mad Dog Phase 2 in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico and earlier this month sanctioned Angelin, an offshore natural gas project in Trinidad and Tobago. The projects also continue BP’s turn toward natural gas, said the TPH team.

India today consumes more than 5 Bcf/d and expects to double gas consumption by 2022. Gas production from the integrated development could reduce India's dependence on liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports and total more than 10% of the country’s projected gas demand in 2022.

Gas produced over the life of the three new projects could generate up to $20 billion in import substitution -- at current imported LNG prices -- and employ to 20,000 people during the construction period over the next five years, according to BP.

Contracts would be awarded to develop the R-Series deepwater gas fields in Block KGD6 off the east coast of India. The R-series (D34) project, a dry gas development, is in water depths of more than 2,000 meters, about 70 kilometers offshore.

As conceived, the fields would be developed as a subsea tieback to an existing control and riser platform in the block. The first of the three projects, slated to come onstream in 2020, is expected to produce up to 425 MMcf/d. Development plans for the next two projects should be ready for government approval by the end of this year.

"We are delighted to progress these developments, which will provide India with much needed indigenous energy and support the Prime Minister's call for import substitution and the development of a gas-based economy," Reliance Chairman Mukesh Ambani said. "The solid relationship between our two companies is a great example of what can be achieved while working together at scale."

The producers also are expanding their partnership to explore differentiated fuels, mobility and advanced low-carbon energy businesses in India as it reduces its reliance on fossil fuels. They expect to collaborate in conventional transportation and aviation fuels retailing as well as unconventional mobility solutions to address electrification, digitization and disruptive mobility trends.

Together, the collaborations are designed to address the mobility needs of India's urban, rural/farm, industrial/commercial, and highway consumers.

"This strategic partnership not only strengthens the relationship between two global energy leaders, but is also in line with and supports the forward-looking policies and vision of the Government of India," Ambani said.

Said Dudley, "India's demand for both energy and mobility is growing and evolving rapidly. This presents many opportunities for BP and Reliance to build on our existing strong relationship in upstream and expand our partnership further downstream."

India, with a population of 1.3 billion people, consumes around 4 million b/d of oil products, with demand for fuels expected to grow every year over the next decade by 5-7%.

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