New Delhi: Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan launched the third round of India’s oil and gas auctions under the Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) on Sunday at Petrotech 2019. In this bid round, 23 blocks, with an area of approximately 32,000 sq. km. are being offered for bidding to the investor community under the investor-friendly HELP regime. Eighteen blocks are based on Expressions of Interest (EoI) submitted by the bidders, and five blocks where Coal Bed Methane (CBM) is a primary offering have been carved out by the government suo motu with a view to augment CBM exploration and production in the country.
Last date to submit bids April 10
With the release of Notice Inviting Offer (NIO), bidders can study the data available in National Data Repository (NDR) and select blocks for the bidding. The bidders would be able to submit their bids through an online e-bidding portal starting February 11 and the bidding round would continue till April 10. The blocks are spread across 12 sedimentary basins; 23 blocks are on offer under OALP-III which includes, 19 Onland blocks, including five CBM blocks, three shallow water blocks and 1 deepwater block. It is expected that OALP Round III would generate immediate exploration work commitment of around US$600-700 million.
The fourth cycle of submitting Expressions of Interest (EoIs) is currently going on and will be open till May 15. It would be followed by the fifth cycle until November 15, 2019.
An official statement released by the ministry said that the licensing programme under HELP which adopts the Revenue Sharing Model is a step towards improving the ‘ease of doing business’ in the Indian Exploration and Production (E&P) sector. It comes with attractive and liberal terms like reduced royalty rates and no oil cess, marketing and pricing freedom, submission of Expression of Interests (EoIs) round the year, bid rounds commencing every six months, a single licence to cover conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon resources, exploration allowed during the entire contract period, easy bidding process, transparent award and swift processing of approvals.