New Delhi: With finance minister Pranab Mukherjee restoring tax breaks for natural gas, the Government will relaunch the nation’s largest-ever auction of oil and gas blocks but the last date of bidding is likely to be extended.
Promotional roadshows for 70 blocks offered for bidding under the eighth edition of New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) and 10 coal bed methane (CBM) areas were to begin on 20 April but the programme has been deferred on over ambiguity on availability of tax holidays for natural gas.
Petroleum secretary R S Pandey said a revised programme for domestic and overseas roadshows will be chalked out in consultation with Oil minister Murli Deora in next few days.
Mukherjee had in his Budget for 2009-10 stated that seven years holiday from payment of income tax on profits earned from production and sale of natural gas would be available for blocks to be awarded in NELP-VIII. Similar fiscal concession was already available for crude oil.
“Now that a clarification has come and that there is no ambiguity, the way has been cleared for the roadshows,” he said.
Oil regulator DGH head V K Sibal, however, said there was a likelihood of extending the August 10 bid deadline as more than three months had been lost.
The Government had launched NELP-VIII and CBM-IV on 9 April and bids were to close on August 10.