Three of the world's biggest energy companies from Britain and The United States are competing for a stake in a giant natural gas field in India.
The field in India's Krishna Godavari basin, discovered by India's Reliance Industries in the Bay of Bengal, are now target of UK-based BP and Chevron and ExxonMobil of the United States.
Lord Browne, BP's chief executive, talked with Mukesh Ambani, Reliance chairman, during a visit to India last week to sign a deal to help Hindustan Petroleum build a refinery, according to Financial Times on Monday.
But an insider confirmed the interest of the other oil majors and said Reliance Industries was still considering its options.
The Reliance field was 2002's largest gas discovery.
UK energy consultants Wood Mackenzie values the field at 4 billion dollars, taking into account only the proved and probable reserve estimates of 6,000 billion cubic feet, a conservative valuation since the field holds possible reserves of 14,000 billion cubic feet.
Browne is reportedly to have said in New Delhi, "We need to do more [in India]. We are looking at various options in exploration and production, as well as more in refining and marketing."
The project is just the type oil majors prefer, where the find has been made but still needs to be developed.
ExxonMobil said it would pursue opportunities that met its investment criteria, meanwhile, Chevron said it would not comment about potential M&A activity.