Tata Petrodyne, the oil and gas arm of Tata Group, is placing its bet on an Australian block, AC/P46, in the Timor Sea.
In the next two years, the company plans to invest Rs 400 crore in the block, which promises a discovery.
"We are placing our bets on a successful find in Australia. It is a big reservoir and will be a game-changer for the company. At present, our balance sheet size is Rs 800 crore, but with the finds in the Australian block, it might go up to $2 billion," said Anupam Mathur, executive director & CEO.
The company, operator of the block, bid for it in 2008 for a 100 per cent participating interest. It has invested $7 million in the block, and is looking for partners to divest a minority stake in it. It has roped in ANZ Grindlays bank for this. "We want to farm out a minority stake by May to hedge risks," said Mathur.
Tata Petrodyne holds six blocks in India, of which two are producing.
Its block in Palar basin, PR-OSN-2004/1, on the east coast, and east of Chennai, is under force majeure due to restrictions imposed on petroleum operations by the department of space.
Cairn India is the operator of the block, with a 35 per cent participating interest.
ONGC also holds a 35 per cent participating interest. The consortium has so far invested around $40 million in the block so far.
"We are very disappointed about the Palar offshore block where we are holding it for last two year and there is no progress in this block," said Mathur.
The company has also decided to relinquish its block KK-DWN-2004/1 block, located on the West coast of India, off Goa coast. While Tata Petrodyne holds a participating interest of 15 per cent in the block, ONGC, the operator of the block holds 45 per cent participating interest and Cairn Energy holds 40 per cent participating interest.
However, its major oil production block, PY-3 located in CY-OS-90/1, in the Cauvery Basin, off the east coast of India, has been shut since July 2011 due to pending submission of a comprehensive field re-development plan.
While Tata Petrodyne holds 21 per cent participating interest in the block, other members are Hardy Exploration and Production (India), with 18 per cent stake, Hindustan Oil Exploration Company Limited, with 21 per cent stake and ONGC, with a 40 per cent interest. The field has cumulatively produced 24.36 million barrels of crude oil until end of March 2011.
Going forward, the company says, it would want to be operators in some of the blocks for better operational flexibility.