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OALP round-IX launched; ONGC wins 7, Reliance-BP one oil, gas blocks in round-VIII bid
Photo Courtesy: PIB

OALP round-IX launched; ONGC wins 7, Reliance-BP one oil, gas blocks in round-VIII bid

| @indiablooms | 04 Jan 2024, 03:20 am

New Delhi: The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG) Wednesday signed contracts for 10 blocks awarded under Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) bid round-VIII and three Coal Bed Methane (CBM) blocks awarded under Special CBM bid round-SCBM 2022.

The contracts were signed in the presence of the Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri.

The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), a government-owned entity, along with the Reliance Industries-BP consortium, Oil India, and Sun Petrochemicals Pvt. Ltd, led by Dilip Shanghvi, successfully secured oil and gas exploration blocks in the eighth round of the Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP-VIII).

In this round, a total of 10 blocks were offered, and five companies—ONGC, Vedanta Ltd, Oil India Ltd (OIL), Sun Petrochemicals Pvt Ltd, and Reliance-BP Exploration (Alpha) Ltd—submitted 13 bids, according to the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH).

ONGC was the exclusive bidder for six blocks, while Reliance-BP secured the ultradeep sea block in the Krishna Godavari basin on its own. ONGC bid for nine out of the 10 blocks, winning seven of them, excluding the block bid by Reliance-BP.

OALP-IX Bid Round was also launched at the event. In this bid round, 28 blocks, with an area of approximately 1,36,596 Sq. Km., are on offer for bidding.

Addressing the event, Minister Puri noted that signing for OALP-VIII & SCBM-2022 and the launch of the OALP-IX Bid Round was a crucial step in ensuring India’s energy security.

He mentioned that vast offshore acreage of more than 1 million sq. km. has been made available in the recent past for E&P operations which were earlier so-called ‘No-Go’ areas.

He said that currently, only 10% of the Indian Sedimentary Basin Area is under active exploration, however, with the initiatives of the government, more areas will come under exploration and it is estimated that after the awarding of blocks under the forthcoming OALP-IX and X Bid Rounds, about 5,60,000 sq. km. area (16%) will come under exploration by end of the year 2024.

MoPNG Secretary Pankaj Jain said that the size of bidding round IX is expected to be much bigger.

Speaking at the event, DG, DGH, Dr. Pallavi Jain Govil said that OALP -IX Bid Round bears a special significance as many of the offshore blocks on offer are in hydrocarbon rich basin areas which were earlier out of bound for E & P activities due to restrictions posed by different agencies.

In the OALP VIII Bid Round, a total of 10 blocks covering an area of 34,364 square kilometers were available for bidding. These blocks are located across 9 Sedimentary Basins and include 2 Onland blocks, 4 Shallow Water blocks, 2 Deep Water blocks, and 2 Ultra Deep-Water blocks. There was a total of 13 bids submitted for all 10 blocks, and they were awarded to 4 companies. The anticipated investments for committed exploration work programs in these awarded blocks amount to approximately USD 233 Million.

Under Special CBM Round-2022, a total of 16 CBM blocks were offered for bidding which spread across 7 States covering an area of 5817 sq. km. A total of 6 bids were received for 3 blocks with an area of 717 Sq. Km. These 3 blocks were awarded to 2 Companies. Estimated investments in awarded blocks for the committed exploration work program are to the tune of USD 7.4 Million.

As a major reform in the E&P sector, the Hydrocarbon Exploration & Licensing Policy (HELP) was approved in March 2016.

In continuation of its determination to reduce import dependency on oil and gas and accelerate E&P activities, the government notified further policy reforms in the upstream sector in February 2019 and again in May 2023 with a focus on shifting from ‘revenue’ to ‘production’ maximization.

There is also a continued focus on greater transparency and streamlined procedures.

The first seven OALP Bid Rounds led to an award of 134 blocks, covering an area of about 2,07,691 sq. km. to leading E&P companies.

Now, with the award of 10 more blocks under Round VIII, a total of 144 exploratory blocks have been awarded under the HELP regime covering an area of 2,42,055 sq. km.

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