The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), on Thursday, approved the award of oil and gas blocks to two consortiums led by GAIL India and Deep Energy, respectively.However, the CCEA, headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, rejected the Ishar Gasoil’s bid for three blocks — RJ-ONN-2010/1, GV-ONN-2012/1 and CB-ONN-2010/2 — which were offered under the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) IX, citing the company’s negative net worth as the reason.

Briefing journalists after the Cabinet meeting, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said the block GV-ONN-2012/1 would not be awarded at all as there was no other bidder.The other blocks were awarded to the next bidder, he said.

The block RJ-ONN-2010/1 went to a consortium of GAIL, Bharat Petro Resources, BF Infrastructure and Monnet Ispat & Energy. Similarly, the block CB-ONN-2010/2 went to a consortium of Deep Energy, Deep Natural Resources and Safal WSB Energy Pvt. Ltd..

In all, 34 blocks, covering an area of about 88,807 sq. km., were offered under the NELP-IX in October, 2010. The blocks offered included eight deep-water blocks, seven shallow water blocks and 19 onland areas.

A total of 74 bids were received for 33 blocks (eight deep-water blocks, six shallow water blocks and 19 onland blocks) at the close of bidding on March 28, 2011. No bid was received for one exploration block in shallow water.

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