Third round of auctions launched SHINE JACOB
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