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Steel baron Lakshmi N Mittal’s joint venture with ONGC Videsh has won an exploration block with estimated gas reserves of two trillion cubic feet (tcf) in Trinidad and Tobago.

ONGC-Mittal Energy beat UK’s Centrica Plc to bag the offshore block, a company official said. OMEL, the 51:49 joint venture between Mittal Energy and the overseas investment arm of state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), made a revised financial commitment of about 204 million dollars to win the block.

Trinidad and Tobago had in January 2006 offered eight onshore and three shallow marine blocks for bidding. OMEL made an initial bid of about $175 million, including signature bonus. It later emerged that Centrica and a consortium led by BG of UK had also submitted bids for the block.

“OMEL was informed that there was a tie in the bids of OMEL and Centrica and OMEL was asked to submit a revised bid,” the official said. The bid parameters were reviewed by OVL and OMEL in consultation with technical advisors and a revised bid for the block with increase in the minimum financial exposure to OMEL from about $175 million to about $204 million was submitted. Trinidad and Tobago government has informed that OMEL’s revised bid had been successful and it has invited the company to negotiate the Production Sharing Contract (PSC) for the block.

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