Australia-based Dart Energy Ltd has confirmed that it is in talks with various players for selling 49% stake in its India subsidiary to raise funds, at a time when the company has relinquished all the coal-bed methane blocks except the one in Assam.
“We are in talks for the stake sale; it is there in our plans. At present, we have only the Assam block with us and have relinquished three out of the four blocks we secured in CBM III bidding round and two other blocks in the CBM IV round in 2010,” said Sudhansu Adhikari, Country Manager, Dart Energy Ltd.
In August, Business Standard had reported that the company is looking to sell 49% in its Indian subsidiary to finance exploration and production ventures in India and the UK. Though Dart tried to raise funds through the initial public offering route, it failed.
When asked about its failure as a CBM player in India, Adhikari added, “Compared to players like Essar, GEECL and Reliance, we got blocks with lesser prospects.”
CBM is a form of natural gas extracted from coal beds.
In June, state-run ONGC had offered 10 to 25% stake in its four coal-bed methane (CBM) blocks to Dart Energy. While the Australian firm received 25% interest in the Jharia, North Karanpura and Bokaro blocks in Jharkhand, it won a 10% stake in the Raniganj block in West Bengal. In Raniganj, London-listed Great Eastern Energy Corp Ltd is Dart's partner with 25% interest.
The company refused to take up the stakes in the North Karanpura and Raniganj blocks, according to a senior ONGC official, who also did not want to be named. “We were not keen on having just 10% stake in a block, that was the reason why the offer for Ranigunj was rejected,” he added.
In Assam block, which was awarded to the Australian major in 2010, it holds a 60% stake, while Indian Oil Ltd holds the remaining 40%.