Seventh round slated for April, says Minister
NEW DELHI: The Central Government on Friday inked production sharing contracts (PSCs) with successful bidders of the 52 oil and gas blocks that were auctioned under the sixth round of the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP).
The most successful bidder was Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) which signed contracts for a total of 24 blocks. Of these, while 12 are offshore blocks located in deep sea, two are in shallow waters and the balance ten being onshore.
ONGC is also a minority partner with Cairn Energy of the U.K. in one shallow offshore block.
Next in line was Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries which inked PSCs for seven prime deep-sea blocks, while the Australia-based Santos accounted for two deep-sea blocks. As for onshore exploration, while the Oil India Ltd. (OIL) signed agreements for six blocks, Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC) inked contracts for three other blocks.
Speaking at the PSC signing ceremony, Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said that with an investment commitment of at least $ 5 billion for exploration in oil and gas blocks awarded in the sixth round of NELP, the Government now plans to launch the seventh round by April with the highest number of 70-100 blocks on offer.
As for the other awardees, Focus and Petrogas entered into agreements for one shallow offshore block each. Likewise, Naftogaz inked pacts for three onshore blocks, of which one is to be in partnership with Anil Ambani's Reliance Natural Resources Ltd. (RNRL). Essar Oil also signed contracts for two onshore blocks while Prize Petroleum and Geoglobal did so for one offshore block each.