State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) has won an offshore oil and gas exploration block in New Zealand, the first by an Indian firm in that country.
ONGC Videsh Ltd , the overseas investment arm of India's biggest energy explorer, won exploration Block 14TAR-R1 in New Zealand's Taranaki basin, in the same region which has several commercially successful oil and gas fields.
New Zealand launched the bidding round in April, offering five offshore and three onshore release areas.
"OVL submitted bid for one exploration block located in Taranaki offshore basin in October 2014," the company said in a statement issued on Wednesday.
Others who walked away with exploration licenses included US giant Chevron and Norwegian state-owned oil and gas company Statoil.
OMV New Zealand, a subsidiary of Austrian oil major OMV and already producing oil and gas offshore Taranaki, was awarded another offshore Taranaki and one Pegasus permit.
OVL has taken a 12-year permit in the Taranaki Basin.
The exploration permit has been awarded to OVL by Simon Bridges, Minister of Energy and Resources, Government of New Zealand at a formal ceremony held at Wellington on Tuesday.
"The award of block signifies entry of ONGC Videsh into a new country, taking its presence in 17 countries in 36 projects," the statement said.
OVL Managing Director and CEO Narendra K Verma said the firm's "maiden entry into the hydrocarbon province of Taranaki offshore basin in New Zealand shall provide an opportunity to explore interesting hydrocarbon potential in the region and act as a foothold for greater participation in the far-east region."
With this, OVL now has 36 projects in 17 countries, including Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Libya, Mozambique, Myanmar, Russia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, Vietnam and New Zealand.
It currently produces 160,000 barrels of oil and oil equivalent gas per day and has total oil and gas reserves of about 637 million tonnes oil equivalent as on March 31, 2014.
OVL produced 8.36 million tonnes of oil and oil equivalent gas in 2013-14 fiscal, up from 7.26 million tonnes oil equivalent in the previous year.
It recently acquired 2.7 per cent stake in an Azerbaijan oilfield that produces about 700,000 barrels of oil per day.
Also, it picked up 16 per cent interest in a giant gas discovery area in Mozambique. The offshore gas discovery has recoverable reserves of 50-70 trillion cubic feet, out of which OVL's share would be 8-11 Tcf.
The block has potential to become one of the world's leading LNG producing hubs with production expected by 2018.