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The cabinet has approved Reliance Industries' plan to sell a stake in 21 of 23 planned oil and gas blocks to BP as part of a $7.2 billion deal, Oil Minister S. Jaipal Reddy said on Friday.

Reddy said the cabinet has not approved the remaining two blocks for "technical reasons." He added that India "needs gas desperately" but declined to say if the deal would yield an increase in production.

Reliance agreed in February to sell a stake in 23 of its oil and gas blocks, including some in India's most productive gas field off the east coast, to global oil & gas major BP, and is expected to benefit from BP's deepwater exploration expertise.

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