State-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) on Wednesday said it has won 17 out of the 25 oil and gas blocks it had bid for along with its partners in the just concluded licensing round.

“In the just concluded New Exploration Licensing Policy round-VIII for which the bids closed on October 12, ONGC has again turned out to be the largest winner as per the provisional results declared,” the company said in a statement.

ONGC, in partnership with certain consortia members, had submitted bids for 25 oil and gas exploration blocks and won 17 of them.

It had bid for seven deep-sea blocks - five as sole operator, one as joint operator with Oil India Ltd and one with the BG Group of UK as the operator. It won all the seven blocks. Of the 24 deep water blocks that the government had put on offer, only 8 deep-sea blocks received bids - all of which were single bids. Cairn Energy Plc of UK was the winner of the other deep-sea block.

ONGC said in the shallow water, it won five of the six blocks it had bid for as operator while it got one more block where it was not the operator. The government had put 28 shallow blocks on offer, of which bids were received for 13.

Of the 18 onland blocks on offer, ONGC bid for 10 as operator and one as non-operator but could manage to win only four.

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

ONGC said it had bid for deepwater blocks in consortium with BG Group, OIL, Gujarat State Petroleum Corp (GSPC), GAIL India, NTPC and Andhra Pradesh Gas Infrastructure Corp (APGIC). Shallow water blocks had Indian Oil and Adani Welspun Exploration Ltd as additional partners.

ONGC had also submitted bids for three coal bed methane (CBM) blocks offered under the CBM-IV round but none of the blocks were awarded to ONGC.

ONGC Chairman and Managing Director R S Sharma said the overall response to the bid round has been on expected lines.

“Primarily, lack of investor interest for exploration across the world has been the reason for lower number of bids. Also, the lack of clarity on the likely gas price implementation and the taxation regime could have contributed to the below par response to the bidding round,” he said.

On ONGC winning 17 blocks, he said: “Strategically, we had targeted to win high risk-high return blocks and also the virgin areas in the exploration frontiers, especially in the deepwaters. The results are in absolute conformity with our bidding strategy.”

In the previous seven rounds, ONGC had won almost half of the 203 blocks awarded. Keeping with the trend, in the NELP-VIII bid round also, ONGC has won 17 out of the 36 blocks for which bids had been received.

In all 70 oil and gas blocks and 10 CBM blocks offered, bids were received for only 44 areas.

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