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The Reliance Industries and its partners BP Plc of UK and Canada's Niko Resources may have to provide a maximum of USD 1.2 billion in bank guarantees over three years to get nearly double the rate for natural gas being produced from the main fields in KG-D6 block.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) had on December 20 decided to allow Reliance Industries to almost double the price of natural gas from April, 2014 provided the firm gave a bank guarantee to cover its liability if gas-hoarding charges are proved.
The bank guarantee, which will be equivalent to the incremental revenue that Reliance Industries will get from the new natural gas price, will be encashed if it is proved that the company hoarded gas or deliberately suppressed production at the main Dhirubhai-1 and 3 (D1&D3) fields in the eastern offshore KG-D6 block since 2010-11, sources said.
Considering gas prices will rise from USD 4.2 per million British thermal unit to USD 8.2-8.4 after the Rangarajan pricing formula comes into effect from next fiscal, the bank guarantee - being the difference of current and new price - for every trillion cubic feet of gas production will come to USD 4 billion.
Sources said the bank guarantee for the entire remaining recoverable gas reserves of about 0.75 Tcf in D1&D3 fields comes to USD 3 billion. At current rate of production of about 8 million standard cubic meters per day, D1&D3 will produce about 0.3 Tcf in the next three years - the time that may be needed to settle the issue of gas hoarding charges.
The bank guarantee for 0.3 Tcf comes to USD 1.2 billion, they said. Of this, the share of RIL, which holds 60 per cent stake in KG-D6, will come to USD 60 million per quarter. BP has 30 per cent interest and the remaining 10 per cent is with Niko.
D1&D3, the first of the 19 discoveries in eastern offshore KG-D6 block that was put on production in April 2009, originally was estimated to hold 10.03 Tcf of reserves. But these were last year slashed to 2.9 Tcf based on production data for first three years when wells were shut one after another following water and sand sweeping inside along with sharp drop in reservoir pressure.
Of the re-stated reserves of 2.9 Tcf, about 2.2 Tcf have already been produced in first four-and-half-years and balance of about 0.75