ONGC Videsh Ltd, the overseas arm of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp, has won two onland oil blocks in Myanmar, strengthening its presence in the south-east Asian nation.

OVL, which has stakes in the A-1 and A-3 gas discovery blocks and three other offshore acreages in Myanmar, was last week awarded two oil and gas exploration blocks in that country’s Onshore Blocks Second Bidding Round — 2013.

The firm got Blocks B-2 (Zebyutaung-Nandaw) and EP-3 (Thegon-Shwegu), according to the list of winners released by Myanmar’s Energy Ministry. Other pre-qualified Indian companies Cairn India, Oil India Ltd (OIL), Jubilant Offshore Drilling and Prize Petroleum drew a blank.

Myanmar awarded 13 onshore blocks, with OVL, Italy’s Eni, Pakistan’s Petroleum Exploration (PVT) and Canada’s Pacific Hunt Energy Corp each winning contracts to operate two blocks.

Malaysia’s Petronas, Brunei National Petroleum Co, CAOG Sarl of Luxembourg, Bashneft of Russia and PTT Exploration and Production of Thailand won one block each, the ministry said.

Myanmar had in January had offered 18 onshore areas — 15 Production Sharing Contracts (PSC) and 3 Improved Petroleum Recovery Contracts (IPR).

It awarded 13 PSCs, while the IPR blocks went to MPRL of British Virgin Islands (2 blocks) and Petronas.

Industry sources said 59 companies, including PetroVietnam, Sinopec of China, Total of France, Woodside Energy and ExxonMobil were originally pre-qualified to bid for the 18 blocks offered in Myanmar’s second onshore licensing round.

Myanmar plans to adjust certain terms in its PSCs to make it more attractive to foreign investment. It is looking to reduce the income tax rate from 30 per cent to 25 per cent and extend an existing three-year tax holiday to five years.

Existing PSCs stipulate a three-year exploration period followed by 20 years for production, with the royalty rate set at 12.5 per cent.

OVL has also been pre-qualified to bid for 30 offshore oil and gas blocks that Myanmar plans to award by early 2014.

The 61 companies pre-qualified to bid for the 11 shallow water and 19 deepwater blocks include India’s Reliance Industries, Cairn, OIL, gas utility GAIL India and Jubilant.

International oil majors pre-qualified include Shell, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Total, Norway’s Statoil, Eni, Spain’s Repsol, Anadarko Petroleum of US, Husky Energy, Hess of US, Murphy Oil, Premier Oil of UK, Woodside and Delek Energy, according to Myanmar’s Energy Ministry.

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