Mumbai: State-run Gujarat State Petroleum Corp. Ltd (GSPC) has put 12 of its 21 hydrocarbon blocks on the block to reduce its debt, according to two people aware of the development. GSPC is the flagship firm of the GSPC Group, which is involved in exploration and production of oil and gas. The Gujarat government owns 87% in GSPC.

“GSPC has opened its data room to bidders. It is selling 12 of its 21 hydrocarbon blocks," said one of the two persons mentioned above on condition of anonymity.

GSPC did not reply to an email sent on 19 March.

The company had hired consulting firm EY in 2016 to prepare a report on the stake sale, in an attempt to reduce its debt, which has reached 20,000 crore as of March 2016.

GSPC holds a participating interest in 21 hydrocarbon blocks, both onshore and offshore, according to the company’s website.

“We are selling our participating interest (stake) in 12 of our blocks where we are non-operators. We don’t consider these blocks lucrative enough for our portfolio," said the second person, an official with GSPC, who also spoke on condition of anonymity.

Five of the blocks put on sale are operated by the state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd (ONGC), three by Gujarat Natural Resources Ltd, two by GSPC, and one each by Sun Oil and Natural Gas, and Oilex Ltd.

“We want to sell our complete stake. We have received a few interests and we are hoping more interests would trickle in. We plan to complete the sale by June or July," the second person said. As part of its debt reduction plan, in 2016, it sold its entire 80% interest in Deen Dayal West gas field in the Krishna Godavari Basin (Block KG-OSN-2001/3), for 7,738 crore to ONGC.

Last March, GSPC also sold 28.4% stake in Gujarat Gas Ltd, its city gas distribution business, to its subsidiary Gujarat State Petronet Ltd.

Proceeds from both sales were used to retire part of its debt.

Till last August, GSPC had a reported debt of nearly 13,000 crore. GSPC had hired State Bank of India to advise it on debt management.

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