New Delhi: Reliance Industries has made a natural gas discovery in the very first well drilled on its D9 block in the Krishna Godavari basin off the east coast of India, its junior partner Hardy Oil and Gas Plc said on Wednesday.

London-listed Hardy through a press statement announced "first gas discovery in the exploration well KG-D9-A2 within the D9 licence."

Reliance holds 90 per cent interest and is the operator of the deep-sea block KG-DWN-2001/1 (D9). Reliance-Hardy combine had won the 11,605 square kilometer (equivalent to 48 North Sea blocks) in the third round of bidding under New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) in 2003.

Hardy holds 10 per cent interest in the block.

"The well KGD9-A2 was drilled to a total depth of 4,881 meters with the objective of exploring the play fairway in the Early and Late Miocene Channel Levee Complex in a water depth of approximately 2,700 meters," it said.

"Three sand reservoirs with a gross thickness of approximately 22 meters were encountered and evaluated by wireline MDT. This discovery, named 'Dhirubhai - 54' has been notified to the Government of India and DGH," it added.

Hardy did not give reserves the discovery may hold saying the potential commerciality of this discovery is being ascertained through more data gathering and analysis.

The D9 exploration licence is located in the Krishna Godavari Basin on the east coast of India and presently covers an area of approximately 8,695 square kilometers. The licence's minimum work programme provides for the drilling of four exploration wells.

Commenting on the well results, Yogeshwar Sharma, Chief Executive Officer of Hardy said: "We are encouraged by this discovery which extends the proven Miocene play fairway into the frontier D9 block.