ONGC

Cast doubt aside: the Indian government has made it official. Gas prices are going to be doubled in the next fiscal year.

Cue the rally. Read more

On Friday, India’s cabinet approved the creation of an independent regulator for the coal industry and announced that the Coal Regulatory Authority Bill 2013 will now be put before Parliament.

So far, all as expected. So why have shares in Coal India jumped over 7 per cent? Read more

Another strand is playing out in the saga over Kazakh oil and gas: the government in Astana has decided against increasing its stake in the enormous Kashagan oil field as ConocoPhillips exits the project.

None of the other international majors involved appear willing to increase their exposure to what is turning out to be the world’s most expensive oil development, ever. That leaves Kazakhstan to play India and China off against each other for access to Kashagan’s vast oil reserves. Read more

On the face of it, ONGC‘s decision to splash out $5bn on a minority share in the giant Kashagan oil field in Kazakhstan makes sense, given the Indian national oil company’s pressing need to build up strategic oil reserves. But analysts dissecting the company’s most expensive ever overseas acquisition say the deal is fraught with risk and smacks of desperation. Read more

ConocoPhillips is in the middle of a long-standing streamlining programme, so there was little surprise on Monday when it announced the disposal of a chunky $5.5bn asset – its stake in Kazakhstan’s vast Kashagan field.

But the buyer’s name came as a shock. Given the enthusiasm of president Nursultan Nazarbayev (pictured) for Kazakhs to own more of the country’s mineral wealth, it had been expected that ConocoPhilips might sell to a Kazakh state group – for example, KazMunaiGas, the energy company, which expressed an interest only last month. Instead the purchaser is ONGC, the Indian state oil group. Read more

Three months after it put itself up for sale, Cove Energy – the UK listed company with interests in Mozambique’s huge natural gas fields – said on Tuesday it had accepted a bid from Royal Dutch Shell of 220p a share, valuing the company at £1.12bn ($1.94bn).

In a joint statement, the companies said: “The formal sale process has now been concluded.” But they added: “Other potential offerors can still nonetheless announce competing offers for Cove.” Will PTT Exploration, the state-controlled Thai energy group which had already offered 220p a share, rise to the bait? Read more

By Shriram Subramanian of InGovern

The letter sent by The Children’s Investment Fund (TCI) to Coal India is a wakeup call for the Indian government, companies and institutional investors to take corporate governance issues seriously. Probably for the first time in Indian corporate history, an institutional investor has threatened to sue individual board members of a listed entity. Read more

The price tag on Cove Energy, the UK-listed oil and gas company that has a stake in Mozambique’s biggest gas field, just went up.

Cove, which has at least three potential buyers banging on its doors, said on Wednesday that it was “delighted” to confirm a big increase in proven reserves in Mozambique’s Rovuma offshore gas basin, where it has an 8.5 per cent stake.

Shareholders will be even more delighted if the bidders start raising their offers. With bids of $1.7bn bid, from Thailand’s PTT Exploration & Production, and $1.6bn from Royal Dutch Shell, and an expression of interest from India’s state-run resources companies, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation and GAIL India,  the auction is well under way.  Read more

Bashneft, Russia’s seventh biggest oil producer, has announced terms for the long-awaited consolidation of its downstream subsidiaries that should help pave the way for the company to attract strategic investors.

Although not large by Russian oil standards, Bashneft has some juicy assets to tempt international oil majors scouring the world for new reserves. And it’s not state-controlled. Read more

The Indian government has, perhaps, no better friend than the Life Insurance Corporation. The 100 per cent state-owned investor is always ready to help out in a tight spot – as it did in last week’s chaotic sale of a stake in ONGC, the country’s largest oil company, counted as a success by the government but almost nobody else.

That was far from the first time the LIC has come to its owner’s rescue. Read more

A 2012 market rally in India faces three big tests of its resilience, starting this week.

Investor confidence in Asia’s third largest economy has built up on assumptions of a run of good news in coming days: a strong showing for the ruling Congress party in five state elections when results come out on March 6, relaxation of monetary policy on March 15 and a purposeful national budget on March 16. Read more

Seven hours after the Indian government’s sale of a 5 per cent stake in the country’s largest oil company had ended, Delhi had declared the affair a success.

But the rampant confusion that ensued in the auction’s wake – and continued into Friday evening – bodes ill for the government’s ambitious plan to divest itself of $8bn in equity in state-owned companies to shore up its gaping fiscal deficit, to say nothing of the country’s general reputation with investors. Read more

Confusion reigned on Thursday during the Indian government’s ultimately successful sale of a 5 per cent stake in the country’s largest oil company.

The one-day auction – the first under a newly approved streamlined process – of 427.7m shares in Oil and Natural Gas Company ended up being 98 per cent subscribed, and raised up to $2.5bn, much needed given the country’s widening fiscal deficit. Earlier, it had seemed that the auction had floppped – as beyondbrics briefly reported (our story has been removed), as did many other media. Read more