In­dia of­fers 23 oil blocks in third OALP bid

Mint ST - - CORPORATE - Kal­pana Pathak kal­[email protected] MUM­BAI

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.

PTI

Oil min­is­ter Dhar­men­dra Prad­han launches the third bid round un­der OALP at Petrotech 2019 in Greater Noida on Sun­day.

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