Ahmedabad: The Ahmedabad-based Adani Group has won a bid to prospect for oil and gas in Thailand, less than a year after it bid successfully for two exploration blocks in India. Adani Port Infrastructure Pvt Ltd, one of the group’s firms had bid for the Thailand block (which is onshore or onland as opposed to being offshore, in waters off the country’s coast) in 2006 but the deal was only inked last week due to political instablity in Thailand. Adani now has a production-sharing agreement with the Thai government.
Senior company officials claim that this block is in a gas-bearing basin and there have been a few discoveries by major international players such as Hess Corp. in nearby areas. “We expect to discover good quantity of gas there. We plan to invest over $20 million in this block over time,” one of the officials said, requesting that he not be identified
Apart from being part of the consortia exploring two exploration blocks (the country’s government issues prospecting licences for parcels of onshore and offshore areas termed blocks), one each in Assam and the Cambay Basin (on the western coast), the Adani group has the rights to distribute natural gas in Ahmedabad and Baroda.
The Rs18,000-crore group has interests in commodities trading, the branded edible oil business and the ports sector. It sells edible oil under brand Fortune and runs a port Mundra in Gujarat. Adani Port Infrastructure is a subsidiary company of the stock market-listed Adani Enterprise that has a market capitalization of over Rs6,000 crore.
The Thailand block is the first block that the Adani group has won in its individual capacity. The group had tied up with NJSC Naftogaz of Ukraine and Mumbai’s Jaycee Plastics Industries for its Assam block and had entered into a joint venture agreement with Naftogaz and Welspun Natural Resources for its Gujarat block.
The Ukrainian oil and gas major Naftogaz will be the operator for both the blocks. “We are on the learning curve in the business and have therefore handed over operatorship to more experienced Naftogaz. We would like to use our learnings from our two blocks in India for our projects abroad,” the company official said.
The official added that although India would be Adani’s primary focus, the group was also looking at opportunities in South Asian countries such as Myanmar, Indonesia and Vietnam. “We are also looking at expanding base in Thailand. In all these countries except Myanmar, oil exploration business is well established with lot of opportunities to take stake in producing properties exist,” the official said.
The Thai government plans to put up 65 blocks—56 onshore and nine offshore in the Gulf of Thailand—for bidding. The Adani group would be looking at it, the company official said, but declined to disclose whether the group has earmarked a separate fund for the business.