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Cairn India, PetroSA join forces for oil hunt in S.Africa

Cain India Limited's Chief Executive Officer, Rahul Dhir (© 2009 AFP)

Private oil producer Cairn India and South Africa’s national oil firm PetroSA signed an agreement on Thursday to look for oil and gas off the African coast, the companies said.

The two firms signed a deal, for an undisclosed amount, to explore in the Orange Basin Block 1 on the west coast of South Africa, a joint statement said.

It marks the first move outside Asia for Cairn India, which will hold and operate a 60 percent interest in the block through a fully-owned South African subsidiary.

PetroSA will hold the balance interest in the block, covering an area of 19,922 square kilometers (7,691 square miles), the statement said.

“We have a shared mindset. Cairn India brings with it extensive geo-technical and operating capabilities that combine very well with our experience and understanding of the region,” said Everton September, vice-president at PetroSA.

P. Elango, Cairn India’s strategy director, described the move as “an important first step for the company’s growth beyond the Indian subcontinent”.

The Orange Basin, near the Namibian border, is an under-explored offshore area that has attracted interest from other companies such as Royal Dutch Shell and Anadarko Petroleum Corp.

South Africa relies on oil and gas imports for about 60 percent of its energy needs so it is trying to boost domestic production.

– Dow Jones Newsires contributed to this report –

Signature : MUMBAI (AFP)

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