New Exploration Licensing Policy on anvil, says Deora
After successful completion of eight rounds of auction for oil and gas blocks, India is moving towards Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) where oil firms can choose the blocks they want to explore without waiting for the government to put them on offer.
“Our intention is to move to the OALP regime as soon as possible… under this policy, companies can suggest any block for offer at any time, without waiting for the announcement of the bids under New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP),” Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Murli Deora said at a function marking the completion of NELP-VIII.
The OALP is likely to be preceded by a last round of auction under NELP-IX by the end of the year. Companies can choose any area or block they wish to explore for oil and gas and approach the government for award. The government will then put up an offer for that particular area. For the OALP to become operational, the establishment of the National Data Repository (NDR) was a pre-requisite. Speaking on the occasion, DGH Director General S. K. Srivastava said $1.34 billion investment had been committed in oil and gas hunt in the 36 blocks that were bid for in the NELP-VIII that concluded last year, against $1.2 billion investment committed in NELP-VII.
The actual total investment made under the earlier NELP rounds stands at $13.8 billion.
Of the 70 blocks offered under NELP-VIII, only 36 attracted bids from interested companies. Bids for two blocks were rejected and only 34 blocks were awarded. Of these 34 blocks, production sharing contracts (PSC) for 31 were signed on Wednesday and the remaining would be done later.