|Indian firms to search for oil in Georgia|
|January 18, 2009|
A consortium of two Indian companies said on Friday they plan to invest $150 million in oil exploration in Georgia.
"Georgia has tremendous potential -- if proper technology, good technology is used, we hope we'll be able to do a very good job," Naveen Jindal, executive vice-chairman of Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JNSP.BO: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), told Reuters.
"We have studied all the data and the data is very, very encouraging," Jindal said.
The consortium of Jindal Petroleum and Ensearch Pertoleum has been given permission to explore and extract oil in the Caucasus country, paying $17.4 million for the right to operate on four blocks in different regions.
Georgia began oil exploration in the 1930s, and has extracted 27 million tonnes of oil since development began in earnest in 1974 -- a meagre tally compared to neighbouring Azerbaijan, which has been a major oil producer for a century.
Georgia's best years came at the twilight of the Soviet Union in the mid-1980s, when it produced 3.3 million tonnes a year (66,000 barrels per day), still only a fraction of production by big oil firms.
In 2008, Georgia produced 52,000 tonnes of oil.
But Jindal said he was optimistic.
"According to available data there are more than one billion barrels in reserves," he said.
(Reporting and writing by Niko Mchedlishvili)
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