The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) is likely take a final decision this week on award of at least 33 out of the 36 oil and gas blocks bid in the 8th round of New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP).

More than half of the areas are likely to be bagged by state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and partners. The CCEA is likely to take up the matter for consideration during its meeting on March 19, official sources in the Petroleum Ministry said. Of the 70 blocks offered in NELP-VIII, only 36 attracted bids with ONGC and partners bidding for a maximum of 25. The state-owned firm and its partner won 17 areas. “Bids for two onland blocks were not responsive enough and so they are being scrapped. Also, there are net worth issues with one of the bidders in another block and the CCEA will have to take a call if the block can be awarded or should be scrapped,” a senior official said.

Of the 24 deep water blocks that the government had put on offer, only eight received bids, all of which were single bids. ONGC and partners bagged seven, while Cairn Energy of the U.K. was the winner of the other block. Of the 28 shallow water blocks on offer, 13 received bids. BHP Billiton Petroleum won three, while ONGC got five of these as lead partner and one where Oil India was the operator. Cairn Energy got a KG basin offshore block, he said.

Of the 18 onland blocks on offer, bids were received for 15, four of which went to ONGC. Other winners include Jubilant, Oil India Limited, NTPC and Esveegee Steel. ONGC won seven deep-sea blocks — five as the sole operator, one as a joint operator with Oil India Ltd and one with the BG Group of the U.K. as the operator.

In all, ONGC won 14 blocks as operator and three as non-operator, he said.

Keywords: CCEANELPgas blocksONGC

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