NELP-VIII attracted $1.34 billion investment, says government

The government today said the eighth round of auctions of oil and gas blocks under the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP-VIII) has attracted over $1.34 billion in minimum investment.

NELP-VIII, which ended on 12 October, however, saw bidders reject 34 of the 70 blocks on offer. Reliance Industries, the country's' largest private sector oil explorer and refiner, also did not participate in the bidding.

"In NELP-VIII, we got investment commitments of $1.346 billion. Compare this with $1.7 billion investment committed in the 44 blocks that went out in NELP-VII, I think we have done better," oil secretary R S Pandey said.

Pandey also pointed to even worse performances by hydrocarbon-rich nations like Brazil and Algeria where less than half of the blocks on offer had takers.

"Some say NELP-VIII has flopped but none have actually compared how we fared vis-a-vis similar licensing rounds the world over," he said.

Of the 62 bidders in the NELP-VIII round, 10 were foreign companies and 52 were Indian.

ONGC has bid for the highest number of blocks while Reliance Industries did not bid for any oil block under NELP-VIII. RIL only bid for one CBM block.