Reliance Industries will invest up to USD 700 million in its shale gas venture in the current fiscal and also ramp up spends under the USD 13 billion capex programme in the petrochemical and refining business. "We will invest USD 600-700 million in the shale gas venture. This figure has almost become into a yearly run rate now...we hope to open around 125 to 175 new wells during the year," RIL Chief Financial Officer Alok Agarwal told reporters here today. The shale gas business grew significantly during the year and has become a material contributor to earnings.
On other capital expenditure plans for FY15, he pointed towards RIL's USD 13 billion programme on the petrochemical and refining front and noted that 30 per cent of the targeted amount is done and the balance 70% will get invested in the next 18-24 months. On KG-D6, he said the Mukesh Ambani-led conglomerate will focus on improving production from the gas block in the current fiscal and maintained that the output grew in the just-concluded fourth quarter. The average daily production moved up by a notch in the fourth quarter as against the earlier quarter, he said.
Asked about the imbroglio over the gas supply agreements, Agarwal declined to say anything specific but asserted the company will focus on safeguarding its interests.
Without giving a timeline for the launch of the keenly awaited broadband services under the Jio brand, he said the company has invested Rs 32,000 to Rs 33,000 crore in the venture till now. The telecom venture, whose employee strength has grown to 3,000 from 700 last year, has been making a series of partnerships and investments on the infrastructure front like acquiring spectrum and tie-ups with peers, the CFO said.
He said as the capex cycle moves forward, there will be a marginal drop in the company's cash balances in FY15.
RIL's outstanding debt stood at Rs 89,868 crore as on March 31, 2014 while the cash and equivalents were Rs 88,190 crore.