With the requisite clearances in place including that from the Ministry of Defence to some of the blocks on offer, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) is likely to consider award of eight more oil and gas blocks under the IXth round of bidding under New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP).
These blocks had been held up due to bidders offering less than expected petroleum profit and due to delay in clearances by the Ministry of Defence. The matter had been taken up by the Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry with the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) which had set up a committee for fast track clearances of these projects.
Under the NELP IX, government had offered 34 areas for exploration and production of oil and gas and bids for 33 were received. Of these, CCEA in March awarded 16 blocks to firms like state-run ONGC while bids for 10 blocks were rejected due to bidders offering lesser than expected profit petroleum.
The matter is likely to come up for consideration before the CCEA likely to take place on Tuesday. It will consider awarding six onland and two offshore blocks. Mumbai basin deepsea block MB-DWN-2010/1 is likely to be awarded to consortium of UK's BG Exploration and Production Ltd and BHP Billiton Petroleum (International Exploration) Pty Ltd of Australia. BG-BHP combine beat the consortia of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, Oil India Ltd and GAIL to the block. Shallow water block MB-OSN-2010/2 in the same basin is due to be awarded to a consortium of OIL, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) and Bharat Petro Resources Ltd, who were the sole bidders.
For Assam-Arakam basin onshore block AA ONN-2010/1, a consortium of Prize Petroleum and ABG Energy are in leading position. Ishar Gasoil was top bidder for Rajasthan block RJ-ONN-2010/1, Ganga Valley block GV-ONN-2010/1 and Cambay basin block CB-ONN-2010/2. Since Ishar Gasoil was sole bidder for GV-ONN-2010/1, this block would not be awarded at all. The Rajasthan block would go to the next highest bidder, a consortium of GAIL, Bharat PetroResources Ltd (BPRL), BF Infrastructure Ltd and Monnet Ispat & Energy Ltd.