ConocoPhillips, one of the top U.S. natural gas producers, is reportedly talking with Oil India on a possible sale of South Texas land leases that contain natural gas.
"We are in talks with some of the US-based companies and ConocoPhillips is one of them," said T.K. Ananth Kumar, head of Oil India's finance, speaking to Reuters on Monday. "They have met us."
Citing the Mint newspaper, the wire service said Oil India is seeking to buy leases in the Eagle Ford Shale play in South Texas, and Ananth Kumar suggested his company is looking to spend upwards of $200 million for minority stakes in at least 20 to 30 percent of the country's natural gas acreages.
ConocoPhillips did not immediately comment on the report.
That region of the state has been in the midst of a natural gas boom since large natural gas deposits were discovered there several years ago.
From 2010 to 2011, drilling permits for the region expanded by 210 percent to 3,131, as of Dec. 2, 2011. The majority of the wells are natural gas producing wells, according to information compiled by the Texas Rail Road Commission, the state's regulator of crude oil and natural gas drilling and permitting.
Besides Oil India's potential U.S. acquisitions, the Indian oil company is seeking to acquire leases in Australia, reported the Wall Street Journal, in advance of India planning to open some tracts of land to exploration in 2013.
"Shale gas is going to be the future of unconventional oil exploration and development," Director Finance T.K. Ananth Kumar said, speaking to the Wall Street Journal. "We prefer to go in for a joint venture partnership rather than fully owning the asset. This is our strategy for acquisition of shale gas."
He added Oil India is considering a handful of assets but would not elaborate further.
Shares of ConocoPhillips were off 42 cents to $70.34 in early afternoon trading.