India offers 23 oil blocks in third OALP bid
India on Sunday launched the third round of bidding under its open acreage licensing policy (OALP) as it continues efforts to boost domestic output of oil and gas and trim costly imports.
The government has offered 23 blocks in 12 sedimentary basins in the latest round. These include five coal bed methane blocks.
With the launch of OALPIII, the total exploration acreage under OALP is expected to more than triple to 300,000sq. km in two years ending 2019, said petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan at the Petrotech 2019 conference at Greater Noida.
He expects OALP-III to generate about $600-700 million of investments.
India, which has set a target of cutting its dependence on crude oil imports to 67% from the current more than 80% by 2022, has been keen to monetize its hydrocarbon reserves and bring in foreign partners in the exploration and production segment.
Under OALP, the government, for the first time, has permitted exploration and production companies to study the data available in the National Data Repository (NDR) and choose the blocks for which they would eventually submit bids. The first round of OALP was launched in January 2018.
Under OALP-III, bidders would be able to make their offers through an online e-bidding portal starting Monday to until 10 April.
“With this successful roll out of the HELP/OALP regimes, together with the NDR, government has achieved a massive addition to the exploration acreage of India,” the petroleum ministry said in a statement.
The acreage, which was about 90,000sq. km in 2017, was enhanced to 150,000sq. km after OALP-I. It would touch 210,000sq. km after OALP Round II and III bidding exercises by May 2019, and is expected to reach 300,000sq. km by enddecember 2019.
The government expects about ₹40,000 crore worth of investments in the 14 blocks offered under OALP-II covering 29,333sq. km. Bids close on 12 March.
In the first round, about ₹60,000 crore was committed for exploring 55 blocks.
Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan launches the third bid round under OALP at Petrotech 2019 in Greater Noida on Sunday.