Oil ministry receives 134 e-bids from 42 companies for discovered small fields

The Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH), the petroleum sector regulator attached to the ministry of petroleum and natural gas, has received 134 e-bids for the 34 contract areas under the "discovered small fields" (DSF) bid round by the deadline of 1200 Hours on 21 November 2016.

The bid round took place in a challenging global market environment when the oil and gas prices have been volatile and the investment in the exploration and production sector has seen substantial decline.

Despite a depressed oil market, the response to DSF bid round has been very favourable and exceeded expectations of all experts, says a petroleum ministry release.

Although major oil companies were not interested in small oil fields, the DSF bid round attracted several oil and gas companies besides first time investors in E&P sector, an official release stated.

Dharmendra Pradhan, minister of petroleum and natural gas along with his team undertook various interactive sessions and roadshows in India and other countries like the US, UK, Canada, Singapore and the UAE and encouraged participation from investor community. During the interactions, petroleum ministry officials addressed several issues raised by the prospective investors.

Out of the total 134 e-bids received, 120 e-bids were received for on-land areas and 14 e-bids were received for offshore areas. As many as 42 companies (Individually or as member of the bidding consortium) have participated in the bid round.

The response to the DSF bid round has been overwhelming as compared to the last round of E&P auctions under the NELP regime in 2009-10, largely credited to the new policy reforms which have improved the ease of doing business by introducing a transparent and transparent regulatory framework.

Despite the smaller size of the contract areas on offer in the DSF bid round, the response from private companies was overwhelming; around 37 private sector players submitted e-bids against 27 private companies, during the NELP-IX.

Considering the fact that most of bidders were private players, response to onland contract areas were much larger than that for offshore contract area. All the 26 onland contract area received e-bids while 8 out of 20 offshore contract areas have received e-bids. Five foreign companies have also submitted bids.

The technical bid documents (online and hard copies) were opened on 21 November at DGH's Noida office in the presence of the all the bidders.

The evaluation of the bids would be undertaken in a time bound manner and it is expected that the contract areas would be awarded expeditiously.

The government is trying to award the contract areas at the earliest, so as to expedite monetisation of hydrocarbon production from these fields.