Niko to surrender stake in NEC-25 gas block to RIL, BP

Mumbai: Reliance Industries (RIL) consortium partner Niko Resources of Canada has decided to quit RIL’s gas discovery block NEC-25 on the eastern offshore, by divesting its 10 percent stake to the existing partners.

“In the second quarter of fiscal 2016, the company elected to withdraw from the NEC-25 block and relinquish its interest to the remaining interest holders,” Niko said declaring its second quarter earnings on Friday.

Niko’s 10 percent interest will be divided between RIL and British major BP in proportion to their equity stake in the block of 60 percent and 30 percent, respectively.

Due to the need to finance its debt payments, Niko had put up for sale its interest in NEC-25 as well as its 10 percent stake in RILs Krishna Godavari basin block KG-DWN-98/3 or KG-D6.

Gas discoveries in NEC-25, off the Odisha coast, hold recoverable reserves of 1.032 trillion cubic feet.

Niko said it will not be able to conclude negotiations for sale of its upstream interest by November 15 and will seek an extension from its lenders for additional

“The company’s management is focused on reducing ongoing costs by reducing staff and closing branch offices in countries where it had been exploring,” it said.

“The company will continue its efforts to monetize its non-core assets and minimize cash outflows outside of its core areas,” it added.

Niko had in February announced it intended to sell-off its 10 percent stake in the Krishna-Godavari basin KG-D6 block to square a $340 million debt. The company had earlier planned to sell off the interest by April 30, but later extended it till May 31.

It had earlier blamed a lower-than-expected gas price announced by the Indian government for its decision to sell its stake.