Government expects $4 billion investment in oil exploration under NELP-VII

Mumbai: The government hopes to attract at least $4 billion of investment in oil and gas exploration in the seventh round of auction of oil blocks under New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP).

Launching the NELP-VII round, petroleum minister Murli Deora announced the offer of 57 oil and gas blocks - nine in shallow water, 19 in deep-sea and 29 inland - in NELP-VII, bids for which will close on April 11, 2008.

"This is the largest-ever offering and we are expecting good response," he said.

The government has so far awarded 162 blocks with an investment commitment totalling $8.33 billion over three phases of exploration and production. Of this, the largest commitment of $3.32 billion was received in NELP-VI where 52 out of 55 blocks on offer were sold.

About 49 oil and gas discoveries have already been made in Cambay inland, north-east coast and Krishna-Godavari deepwater areas, with reserves of 600 million tonnes.

Deora said several global players have shown interest in oil exploration in India after significant gas discoveries by Reliance Industries, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation and Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation and Cairn India.