International Finance Corp (IFC), the private equity arm of the World Bank, has invested $30 million in onshore drilling service provider Punj Lloyd Upstream Ltd. The firms is a subsidiary of engineering and construction major Punj Lloyd Ltd. The investment is a mixture of debt and equity. The funds raised would be used to provide drilling services in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia regions.

IFC said in a statement that onshore drilling service providers are in short supply in many areas of the world and are needed to develop oil and gas resources so that countries can benefit from using domestic energy supplies for long-term economic growth.

"IFC's investment in Punj Upstream is a great example of IFC's commitment to supporting the development of India's oil and gas industry and our strategy to help companies from developing countries expand into other developing markets", said Lance Crist, Senior Manager,IFC Oil and Gas.

There have been a couple of private equity deals in the onshore drilling space in India. Merrill Lynch and US-based PE fund GMO have picked up stake in Shiv-Vani Oil and Gas Exploration Services. Last year IDFC Private Equity invested Rs 265 crore in  Goodearth Maritime (GML), which has forayed into both on-shore and off-shore oil drilling sector.

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