UPDATE 1-Niko finds significant gas in India block; shares soar

Fri May 24, 2013 2:07pm EDT
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* Niko, partners say they do not have estimate on reserves

* Niko shares rise 26 pct (Adds Niko CEO comments)

May 24 (Reuters) - Canadian oil and natural gas producer Niko Resources Ltd said on Friday it made a significant gas discovery, along with its partners, in the KG-D6 block off India's east coast, sending its shares up 26 percent.

Niko, which partners India's Reliance Industries Ltd and BP Plc, said the discovery is expected to add to the gas resources in the block, without revealing potential reserves.

"It is a significant discovery in the sense that out of a half-inch choke you have got 2,000 barrels a day and over 30 million cubic feet a day of gas flowing ...," Niko Chief Executive Edward Sampson told Reuters.

The discovery, named D-55, comes at a time when the companies had been grappling with declining output at the block.

"We shall embark on the appraisal program in the next few months in order to evaluate the options for developing this discovery," PMS Prasad, executive director at Reliance Industries, said in a statement.

A Reliance Industries spokesman declined to give further details when contacted by Reuters.

Reliance Industries is the operator of the block with a 60 percent stake. BP holds 30 percent and Niko the rest.

Niko shares rose to a high of C$7.54 in early morning trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Friday. The stock has lost more than 40 percent this year to Thursday close.

Shares in Reliance Industries closed flat at 786.45 rupees. (Reporting by Bhaswati Mukhopadhyay in Bangalore and Prashant Mehra in Mumbai; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)