New Delhi: Reliance Industries has got no-objection from its Canadian partners, Niko Resources and Hardy Oil and Gas, for selling 30 per cent stake in oil and gas blocks like eastern offshore KG-D6 to London-based BP Plc.

Reliance is selling 23 oil and gas blocks which it had won under various rounds of New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) since 1999 along with partners like Niko and Hardy.

The company on February 25 made separate applications for the transfer of 30 per cent stake in these 23 blocks to the oil sector regulator Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH), an official said.

The applications, copy of which was also marked to the Oil Ministry, were accompanied by a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) from Niko and Hardy, he said.

NELP allows firms to sell or farm-out participating interest (or stakes), subject to 'no-objection' from consortium partners.

Niko has 10-15 per cent stake in three gas discovery blocks of Reliance, including the prolific KG-D6, while Hardy holds 10 per cent each in Krishna Godavari basin D9 and D3 blocks.

By virtue of these stakes, both Niko and Hardy have pre-emption rights. So, the applications that Reliance made for transferring its stake to BP were accompanied by a lot of documents, primary among them being the NOCs of its consortium partners, the official said.

DGH will examine the documents and the applications and if they are found in order, it will forward an in-principal approval to the Petroleum Ministry.

BP, Europe's second biggest oil company had on February 21 agreed to a USD 7.2 billion deal for buying 30 per cent stake in 23 out of 29 exploration blocks held by Reliance.

BP also agreed to a performance payment of up to USD 1.8 billion if the tie-up leads to the development of commercial discoveries.

Besides the NOCs, Reliance has also submitted resolution of operating committee (OC) of the blocks, allowing entry of BP to the DGH, the official said.

Reliance has said both its partners Niko and Hardy have right to raise their stake by 30 per cent of their current holding.

Niko holds 10 per cent stake in the Reliance's prolific eastern offshore KG-D6 block and gas discovery block of NEC-25 off the Orissa coast. It also holds 15 per cent in Mahanadi basin block MN-D4.
In KG-D6 and NEC-25, Niko can increase holdings to 13 per cent (10 per cent plus 30 per cent of 10 per cent). In MN-D4, Niko can raise its stake to 19.5 per cent (15 per cent plus 30 per cent of 15 per cent).

Hardy has 10 per cent interest each in D3 and D9 and so it can raise its stake to 13 per cent.

Both Niko and Hardy have so far not stated if they will exercise their rights.

(Agencies)