India's Essar Oil Ltd signed a production-sharing contract with the Government of Myanmar for oil exploration in two blocks one each for onshore and offshore drilling.

The contracts were signed by Myanmar Oil & Gas Enterprise managing director U. San Lwin and A. N. Sinha on behalf of Essar Oil Ltd. Essar is the first Indian private sector company to sign an agreement in this area in Myanmar.

The two blocks are ideally located between proven gas blocks and aligned along the regional corridor of gas discoveries south of Bangladesh, southwards including the highly productive Sangu Gas field in Bangladesh.

EOL plans to conduct a feasibility study which will cover collection of geological, seismic and well drilling data, reprocessing and reinterpretation of seismic and geological data and geological mapping, modeling, and identification of prospects. The feasibility report is expected to be ready in 12 months.

Essar Oil is a fully integrated oil company with operations covering the entire value chain of oil exploration to retailing of petroleum products. It is currently setting up a 10.5 million metric tonne per annum refinery at Vadinar, Gujarat on the west coast of India.

It plans to set up 2,500 retail outlets by mid-2006, a number that will be increased to 5,000 retail outlets by 2008.

The company has commissioned more than 500 retail outlets.