23 oil blocks to go un­der ham­mer in OALP-III round

The Free Press Journal - - BUSINESS -

GREATER NOIDA: In­dia on Sun­day of­fered 23 oil and gas and CBM blocks for bid­ding in the third round of Open Acreage Li­cens­ing Pol­icy, ex­pect­ing up to $700 mil­lion of in­vest­ment that it hoped will help raise do­mes­tic out­put and cut im­ports. Oil Min­is­ter Dhar­men­dra Prad­han launched the OALP-III bid round at the Petrotech 2019 con­fer­ence here on the out­skirts of Delhi. "In OALPIII, 23 blocks in 12 sed­i­men­tary basins are be­ing of­fered. Of these five are coal-bed meth­ane (CBM) blocks. To­tal area on of­fer is about 31,000 square kilo­me­ters," he said. Last date for bid­ding is April 10. OALP-III will run con­cur­rently with OALP-II, where 14 blocks cov­er­ing an area of close to 30,000 sq km is on of­fer for bid­ding, he said, adding that in OALP-I, 55 blocks cov­er­ing an area of 60,000 sq km were of­fered in Jan­uary 2018 and awarded in Oc­to­ber last year. "In one year, we have added about 1.2 lakh sq km of area to ex­plo­ration kitty. This com­pares to 90,000 sq km area un­der ex­plo­ration pre­vi­ously," he said. The area un­der ex­plo­ration will dou­ble by the time the round ends. "Our ef­fort is to ac­cel­er­ate ex­plo­ration of all sed­i­men­tary basins of the coun­try," he said. The third round is ex­pected to "gen­er­ate im­me­di­ate ex­plo­ration work com­mit­ment of around $600-700 mil­lion," it said. In the first round of OALP, as much as Rs 60,000 crore was com­mit­ted in the ex­plo­ration of oil and gas in 55 blocks. The 14 blocks be­ing of­fered in OALP-II bid rounds cover an area of 29,333 sq km, and bids close on March 12 and another Rs 40,000 crore in­vest­ment is ex­pected. The govern­ment has held two auc­tions of dis­cov­ered small fields and a sim­i­lar num­ber un­der OALP and the cu­mu­la­tive in­vest­ment com­mit­ted is Rs 1,20,000 crore, of­fi­cials said.

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