IOC acquires Mercator Petroleum for Rs 148 crore


The state-owned Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) has purchased Mercator Petroleum for around Rs 148 crore in an insolvency case. "The resolution plan submitted by IOC for the acquisition of a 100 percent stake in Mercator Petroleum Limited (MPL) has been approved by the National Company Law Tribunal, Mumbai Bench, vide its order dated November 2, 2023, under the relevant provisions of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016", the company stated in its filing.

MPL has an onshore oil and gas exploration block in Gujarat's Cambay Basin. The block CB-ONN-2005/9, which the business had won in the 2008 seventh NELP bid round, contains 45.5 million barrels of in place oil deposits that might potentially be discovered. A contract to purchase oil from the block was signed in November 2019 by IOC's Koyali refinery, which is situated about 60 km away. "IOC will implement the Resolution Plan and complete the regulatory processes, including obtaining necessary approvals, if any, for successful implementation of the Resolution Plan", it stated.

The company has agreed to pay secured financial creditors, who had admitted claims of Rs 291 crore and Rs 135 crore under the terms of the resolution plan. In respect of unsecured creditors, who acknowledged claims of Rs 118 crore, no payment has been made. Compared to their total acknowledged claims of Rs 73 crore, the settlement plan gives operational creditors, vendors, labourers, workers, and statutory dues Rs 5.40 crore.

IOC will also pay Rs 8.7 crore for the insolvency procedure. In August 2021, Halliburton Offshore Services Inc., an oil services firm situated in Cayman Island, filed for bankruptcy after Mercator failed to pay Rs 2.87 crore. The committee of creditors gave its unanimous approval to the IOC's resolution plan for Mercator Petroleum. After that, it was brought to the NCLT, which has now approved it.