ONGC, United Energy Said to Vie for $2 Billion Chevron Asset

  • U.S. producer operates three natural gas fields in Bangladesh
  • Chevron selling Asian assets to weather fall in oil prices

Oil & Natural Gas Corp., the largest Indian oil and gas explorer, and Hong Kong-listed United Energy Group Ltd. are among bidders for Bangladesh natural gas assets being sold by Chevron Corp., people with knowledge of the matter said.

United Energy submitted a joint offer with Chinese conglomerate Orient Group Inc., one of the people said. The gas fields, which could fetch as much as $2 billion, have also drawn interest from Brightoil Petroleum Holdings Ltd., the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

The Bangladeshi government has also expressed interest in taking over Chevron’s holdings, according to the people. No final agreement has been reached with any party, the people said. 

Energy companies have announced $43.2 billion of asset sales this year after crude prices fell to the lowest level in more than a decade, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Chevron, the largest U.S. oil producer after Exxon Mobil Corp., is seeking buyers for Asian geothermal assets that could fetch as much as $3 billion and is also holding talks to sell other assets in Indonesia and Thailand, people familiar with the matter said earlier. 

“Several large global oil companies are selling assets, probably because they are facing a cash crunch at the parent level following the sharp fall in oil and gas prices,” Sachin Mehta, a Mumbai-based analyst at Centrum Broking Ltd., said by phone Friday. Indian companies have been scouting for deals and have strong balance sheets to support acquisitions, according to Mehta.

State Partner

Chevron, based in San Ramon, California, operates the Bibiyana, Jalalabad and Moulavi Bazar natural gas fields in Bangladesh and sells all the production to state oil company Petrobangla, according to its website. Its net daily production last year averaged 720 million cubic feet of natural gas and 3,000 barrels of condensate.

“We can confirm that Chevron has been in commercial discussions about our interests in Bangladesh,” Chevron said in an e-mailed statement Thursday. “At this stage, no decision has been made to sell our interests. We will only proceed if we can realize attractive value for Chevron.”

Representatives for ONGC, United Energy, Brightoil Petroleum, the Bangladeshi energy ministry and Petrobangla didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Calls to Orient Group’s general line were unanswered.

United Energy agreed to buy BP Plc’s exploration and production assets in Pakistan for $775 million in 2010, its first venture in the country.

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