Mercator Lines, is planning to expand its business portfolio by foraying into the offshore oil exploration sector.
The company is looking for global partners to form a consortium to bid for Indian offshore blocks under
the forthcoming round of NELP bids, apart from overseas blocks, including some of the South East Asian and Arabian Gulf blocks.
It is in talks with a few European companies, sources said.
Mercator Lines, which has forayed into offshore support services and is in the process of acquiring a $180m drilling rig, is aiming at forward integration by getting into the exploration business, which would also give it a captive market for its fleet of rigs and other offshore assets.
The company's foray into the oil exploration segment will be spearheaded by its subsidiary, Mercator Oil and Gas Ltd (MOGL).
The subsidiary had earlier initiated a foray into offshore segment by tying up with Gujarat State Petroleum Co, but the move did not result in anything concrete.
Apart from offshore exploration, Mercator also has plans to get into offshore construction, including construction of platforms and pipelines, the sources said.