Third round of auc­tions launched SHINE JA­COB

Business Standard - - ECONOMY & PUBLIC AFFAIRS -

The Cen­tre launched its third round of petroleum and nat­u­ral gas auc­tions un­der the open acreage li­cenc­ing pol­icy (OALP) at the Petrotech 2019 event in the Na­tional Cap­i­tal Re­gion on Sun­day.

Un­der this, 23 blocks will be put up for bid­ding for the global oil and gas ma­jors. In­ter­est­ingly, this comes at a time when the pro­duc­tion from OALP-1 is ex­pected to start only in 2025.

This will cover an area of ap­prox­i­mately 32,000 square kilo­me­tre (sq km). Of the to­tal blocks on of­fer, 18 were carved out of the ex­pres­sion of in­ter­est (EoI) sub­mit­ted by var­i­ous com­pa­nies.

The govern­ment has carved out an ad­di­tional five blocks to aug­ment coal bed meth­ane (CBM) pro­duc­tion in the coun­try.

The bid round is open with launch of the no­tice invit­ing of­fer (NIO) and model rev­enue shar­ing con­tract (MRSC) for OALP bid round-III.

OALP round-III is ex­pected to gen­er­ate im­me­di­ate ex­plo­ration work com­mit­ment of around $600-700 mil­lion. The fourth cy­cle of sub­mit­ting EoIs is will con­tinue till May 15, and would be fol­lowed by the fifth cy­cle till Novem­ber 15.

This comes af­ter the com­ple­tion of OALP-1, which was launched in Jan­uary 2018, in a span of nine months. Around 110 bids were re­ceived for 55 blocks on of­fer in the first round, cov­er­ing 59,282 sq km area on of­fer.

Of those 55 blocks, Anil Agar­wal-led Vedanta got 41. The re­main­ing were shared be­tween Oil In­dia, GAIL (In­dia), Hin­dus­tan Oil Ex­plo­ration Com­pany (HOEC) and Bharat PetroRe­sources.

“Op­er­a­tors of these blocks have ei­ther ini­ti­ated ex­plo­ration ac­tiv­i­ties, or are in the process of ob­tain­ing petroleum ex­plo­ration li­censes (PELs) to ini­ti­ate ex­plo­ration ac­tiv­i­ties. First oil/gas is ex­pected be­fore 2025,” said a govern­ment re­lease.

Ad­dress­ing the event, Petroleum Min­is­ter Dhar­men­dra Prad­han said, “Our govern­ment is fo­cussed on com­plete en­ergy ac­cess to In­di­ans. We are work­ing to make In­dia a gas-based econ­omy. We have over 16,000 km long of gas pipe­line net­work, and ad­di­tion­ally an­other 14,000- km gas pipe­lines are un­der dif­fer­ent stages of con­struc­tion.”

He added the coun­try has em­barked upon the am­bi­tious projects such as the 3,200-km Prand­han Mantri Urja Ganga Project, and 1,600-km long In­drad­hanush Gas Grid to con­nect east­ern and north east­ern parts of In­dia with the Na­tional Gas Grid.

The govern­ment had re­cently launched the sec­ond round on Jan­uary 7, 2019, wherein 14 Blocks, with an area of ap­prox­i­mately 30,000 sq km, were of­fered for bid­ding. The bid­ding un­der OALP round-II would con­tinue till March 12, and the award of these blocks is ex­pected by the end of May.

With the suc­cess­ful roll out of these schemes, along with the Na­tional Data Repos­i­tory (NDR), the govern­ment has achieved a mas­sive ad­di­tion to the ex­plo­ration acreage.

The acreage, which stood at ap­prox­i­mately 90,000 sq km in 2017, was en­hanced to 150,000 sq km af­ter OALP- I. This is ex­pected to touch 210,000 sq km af­ter OALP round-II and III bid­ding ex­er­cises, and touch 300,000 sq km by the end of 2019.

An­other two rounds of bid­ding are ex­pected to be fi­nalised in 2019.

Of the to­tal blocks on of­fer, 18 were carved out of the ex­pres­sion of in­ter­est sub­mit­ted by var­i­ous com­pa­nies

The govern­ment has carved out an ad­di­tional five blocks to aug­ment coal bed meth­ane pro­duc­tion in the coun­try

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