Archive for July, 2010

Reliance gas output to peak by FY12/13: Oil secy

July 30, 2010

Reliance Industries will be able to ramp up natural gas output from its Krishna-Godavari deep-sea fields to peak capacity of 80 million metric standard cubic metres a day (mmscmd) in the fiscal year to March 2013, Oil Secretary S. Sundareshan said on Wednesday.
The company is currently pumping 55-60 mmscmd, Sundareshan said.Reliance Industries was initially expected to produce 80 mmscmd by the end of this year.

Nita Ambani – Brand Ambassador for Saakshar Bharat

July 27, 2010

According to the blueprint prepared by the ministry earlier this week, Nita Ambani, wife of Reliance Industries Ltd chairman Mukesh Ambani and co-owner of Mumbai Indians; Priyanka Vadra, daughter of Congress president Sonia Gandhi; Supriya Sule, member of Parliament (MP) and daughter of agriculture minister Sharad Pawar; and M. Kanimozhi, MP and daughter of Tamil Nadu chief minister M. Karunanidhi; will be approached for key roles in “Saakshar Bharat”, which will have a specific focus on women. All of them said they have not been approached directly so far.

They would be requested to campaign for the mission, which was launched in September by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The names of the mission’s ambassadors are likely to be announced on 8 September, International Literacy Day.

Saakshar Bharat, aims to make 70 million adults (60 million being women) literate in three years and will be implemented in 365 of the country’s 619 districts. While India’s average overall literacy rate is 65.3%, for females it’s 54.28%. In the targeted districts, female literacy is less than 50%. The scheme has already been rolled out in 167 districts in the first week of April and is expected to cost Rs6,000 crore.

Nita Ambani’s office declined to comment. However, the ministry appears to be optimistic.

“We have zeroed in on these icons because we believe that this scheme will be successful if individuals who have sufficiently high profile as well as are committed to the cause are nominated as Saakshar ambassadors,” said a senior ministry official requesting anonymity. The official also said that the ministry wants Nita Ambani and Vadra to be ambassadors at the national level, others will be approached to be goodwill ambassadors at the state level. Some sports personalities will also be roped in later.

They will be expected to pro-actively participate in mass mobilization, undertake visits to some villages to influence teachers and learners, and help motivate private firms to contribute to the programme under their corporate social responsibility schemes. The ministry note points out that Nita Ambani can be “very effective in promoting the private sector initiative and mobilization of resources” for the adult literacy mission.

Marks and Spencer & Reliance Retail plans 15 stores by 2013

July 23, 2010

Marks and Spencer Reliance India, a joint venture between Mukesh Ambani-run Reliance Retail and UK-retailer Marks and Spencer Plc, intends to open 15 stores in two-years, mainly in the metros, a top company official said.

“We are looking to open 10-15 stores in the next two years mainly in the metros. We’re aiming to open larger stores which will showcase a fuller range of our product catalogue,” said Marks and Spencer Reliance India, Head of Marketing, Nandini Sethuraman.

In order to display the wide range of product catalogue properly, the company desires to open spacious stores approximately 10-15.

Marks and Spencer announced plans to open 50 stores in India in the next five years when it formed the joint venture in 2008. The retailer said the target remains.

“Our plan is to open larger stores between 15,000 sq ft and 35,000 sq ft. By 2014, our aim is to have 50 stores. It all depends on momentum and right locations,” Sethuraman said.

Currently, the company has 18 stores across India in destinations such as Delhi, Amritsar, Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai with an average size of about 5,000 sq ft to over 22,000 sq ft in conjunction with Reliance Retail.

Reliance Industries eyes third US shale gas deal

July 15, 2010

Mukesh Ambani-run Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) is close to finalising its third shale gas acquisition in the US. In what is being talked about as the company’s biggest shale gas deal so far, industry sources said RIL is in active talks to acquire a 50 per cent stake in a shale gas asset in North America. The acquisition is likely to be the biggest so far by IL, sources said.

In April, RIL had picked up a 40 per cent stake in Atlas Energy’s Marcellus Shale acreage for $1.7 billion, committing a capital expenditure of $3.5 billion over 10 years. For RIL, Marcellus is a strategic investment, as it is one of the most economically attractive unconventional natural gas resource plays in North America, due to low operating costs and proximity to the north-east gas markets in the US.

RIL picked up a 45 per cent stake in Pioneer Natural Resources’ Eagle Ford shale acreage for $1.3 billion in June. The deal was done through Reliance Eagle Upstream, an arm of RIL. Pioneer owns 46 per cent, while Newpeck holds nine per cent. Reliance Industries had agreed to make an upfront payment of $266 million in cash and contribute another $879 million towards Pioneer’s share of future drilling costs in the next four to six years.

Flush with revenues from its Krishna-Godavari (KG)-D6 gasfield back home, Mukesh Ambani’s RIL, sitting on cash reserves of close to Rs 22,000 crore has been on the lookout of acquisitions in US.

Shale gas extraction involves tapping natural gas trapped between layers of shale rock, similar to the extraction of gas from between coal seams.

More such acquisitions in shale gas projects in the US will follow, sources said. An RIL spokesperson refused comments on the development.

“Shale gas extraction is gaining momentum worldwide and especially in the US. An agreement is also expected to be signed between India and the US during the visit of US President Barack Obama later this year,” said a senior petroleum ministry official.

Besides acquisitions of shale gas assets by RIL in the US, ONGC is also likely to execute some agreements with US firms during President Obama’s visit to India.


Mukesh Ambani Leading Innovation @ Reliance Industries

July 9, 2010

The Reliance Innovation Council was floated by Mukesh Ambani three years back, to bring the best scientists and Nobel laureates from various parts of the world to interact and co-operate with RIL’s research and development initiatives. Besides Ambani and Mashelkar, the membership comprised people such as the late C K Prahalad, George Whitesides of Harvard University, Nobel laureates Jean-Marie Lehn and Robert Grubbs, and Larry Summers, former president of Harvard University.

The association of Mashelkar and Mukesh Ambani is not new. After retiring as the director-general of CSIR, he joined RIL as an independent member of the board. RA Mashelkar is also chairman of the Reliance Innovation Council.

RIL has also invested heavily in the Reliance Innovation Leadership Centre in Pune and in Reliance Research and Technology Centre (RRTC), planned with a floor space of more than half a million square feet in Navi Mumbai. RRTC is to act as a hub for the research centres already operating at various manufacturing locations. Both initiatives are to support the business of Reliance by harnessing cutting-edge, futuristic but practical science, technology and innovation initiatives from within and outside the organisation.

Reliance Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation that handles educational, health and other corporate social responsibility activities of the group. Nita Ambani, wife of Mukesh Ambani, is chairperson. it is also planning to set up one of the largest universities in the world under the leadership of Nita Ambani.