New Delhi: India will announce the auctioning of 80-85 oil and gas blocks for exploration and production in the seventh licensing round under New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) in the first week of November.
“NELP-VII will be launched in the week beginning 29 October,” a government source said.
Oil regulator Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) has carved out 80-85 blocks to be offered for bidding under NELP-VII. The total acreage of the blocks on offer is about 0.4 million square kilometers. Offshore blocks on both east and west coast would be offered, in addition to a few on-land blocks.
NELP-VII had been postponed several times. It was originally due in March-April, but the controversy over pricing of gas forced the government to defer it on fear of investors’ backlash.
Although the government had promised marketing freedom and market price for oil and gas found by companies investing in NELP rounds, there were attempts to regulate price of gas to be produced by Reliance Industries from its NELP-I block, KG-D6.
“Now that a relatively market determined price has been set for KG-D6 gas, we see no problem in going ahead with NELP-VII,” the source said.
NELP-VII could see a partial introduction of ‘Open Acreage’ system alongside bids for a specific number of blocks on offer. Under this system, companies can pick and choose areas they want to explore. For this, a National Data Repository will be set up.
Roadshows for NELP-VII will be held in two parts. In the first part, the eastern hemisphere would be covered with investor conferences in Moscow, Kuala Lumpur and Sydney/Perth during November and early December. Western oil locations including London and Houston would be covered in January after the Christmas holidays.