Reliance Inds to pay $1.35 bn for Pioneer field stake: report

Reliance Inds to pay $1.35 bn for Pioneer field stake: report

Mumbai: Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL), building its presence in the US shale gas industry, was close to announcing a deal to pay $1.35 billion for a stake in a field controlled by Pioneer Natural Resources, the Financial Times reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Reliance, India’s largest listed company, will buy a 45% stake in the Eagle Ford shale gas field in south Texas, the people said, according to the newspaper.

The deal would be the second of its kind in recent months for Reliance, which is controlled by the world’s fourth-richest man, Mukesh Ambani.

In April, his energy-based conglomerate agreed to pay $1.7 billion to Atlas Energy to form a joint venture and own a 40% stake in Atlas’ Marcellus Shale operations in the eastern United States.

A Reliance official declined to comment when reached by Reuters on Tuesday.

Ambani said last week Reliance was looking to build up its presence in the US shale gas business.

Reliance is also making a push into the power and telecom sectors now that it is no longer constrained by a pact that forbade it from competing in industries where Ambani’s long-estranged brother, Anil Ambani, is also present.

Earlier this month, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters that Reliance was in talks to buy a stake in Pioneer’s shale gas assets, and was also in talks with several other firms to acquire similar assets.

Reliance was represented by Barclays and UBS, while Pioneer was advised by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, the Financial Times reported.

The newspaper said on its website that the deal would be announced after the close of business in New York on Tuesday.

Shares in Reliance, the biggest constituent in the Sensex index, were down about 0.5% as of late morning, roughly in line with the 0.7% drop in the BSE benchmark.