Govt awards 55 oil and gas blocks to 6 companies under OALP Round-1

The government of India on Monday signed oil and gas exploration and production contracts with six companies for all 55 blocks that were on offer in the first round of bids under the Open Acreage Licensing Programme (OALP).

Together these 55 oil and gas blocks are expected to rake in investment to the tune of Rs6,000 crore.
The investment proposals are smaller compared to the earlier tenders under the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) that tended to create a high-cost exploration scenario for both the oil companies and the government. 
Initially, 110 e-bids were received for 55 blocks on offer with participation from 9 companies, singly or in consortium. Finally, contracts have been signed for all 55 blocks with 6 companies.
This will add 59,282 sq.km of exploration area, which is about 65 per cent of the area under exploration in the country at present. Government expects this to lead to significant increase in E&P activities in India and in long run discoveries from these field significantly boosting domestic production.
The bid round-I of OALP was launched in January 2018 under the Liberalised Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP). It is for the first time that bidding in the E&P sector in India was for blocks that had been selected by bidders themselves with government playing a facilitator role. The OALP bid round-I has received overwhelming enthusiasm from various stakeholders of E&P industry, with all 55 blocks on offer receiving bids and being awarded.
Minister for petroleum and natural gas and skill development and entrepreneurship Dharmendra Pradhan congratulated the awardees and assured them of complete support and assistance from the government. 
He reiterated the government’s policy measures to enhance domestic hydrocarbon production by putting forth new initiatives and new offers so that the true potential of Indian sedimentary basins is realised. The minister said the companies have committed investment of about Rs6,000 crore for exploring under this round. 
He said there is huge potential in these reserves and their exploration will positively impact the Indian economy. He said that the government is working in a transparent manner, and policies are being made after extensive consultation with all stakeholders. 
Pradhan said India has already become third largest energy consumer in the world and the government is committed to provide affordable energy to its citizens, and for this purpose, several initiatives have been taken to enhance the production of hydrocarbons.