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Govt defers OALP Round II and III bid closing date by a month again

PW Bureau

The round II and III of the OALP bid were running almost concurrently and were supposed to close on April 10 New Delhi: The last date for bidding for oil and gas exploration blocks under the Open Acreage Licensing Policy's (OALP) second and third round has been extended yet again by over a month to May 15. A notice released by upstream regulator Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) said, "Bid submission closing date for OALP Bid Round II & III stands extended up to May 15, 2019." The DGH, however, did not state any reason for extending the deadline. The round II and III of the OALP bid were running almost concurrently and were supposed to close on April 10.

The backdrop

The second and the third round of the bid had been opened one month apart from each other. While round II had opened in January, the third round was opened in February. The government had put up 14 blocks in the second round and 23 other oil and gas and coal-bed methane (CBM) blocks in the third round. The OALP round II bid was announced after a delay of six months. And therefore, it had to run concurrently with the third round. At the launch of round II, petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan had said that an investment of Rs 40,000 crores was expected from the oil and gas blocks put up for auction. In the first round of the OALP bid last year, around Rs 60,000 crores had been committed in the exploration of oil and gas from 55 blocks. The OALP bids are aimed at improving the domestic output of oil and gas in order to reduce India's dependence on imports.