New Delhi: The government has approved the award of 52 hydrocarbon exploration blocks under the sixth round of the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP).
A total of 21 deep-water blocks were approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, along with 25 onland blocks and 6 shallow offshore blocks. The contracts will be signed next month.
Oil and Natural Gas Corporation was the winner, and emerged as the operator of 24 blocks, followed by Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Energy Ltd, which got approval for seven deepwater blocks. Oil India Ltd received six onland blocks while Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation and Naftogaz of Ukraine got three blocks each. Santos of Australia and Essar Oil got two blocks each, while the Focus of theNetherlands, Petrogas of the United States, Cairn Energy, Prize Petroleum and Geoglobal of Canada got one block each.
It is expected that the exploration phase will involve an investment of $6 billion(Rs26,400 crore) over a period of five years.
“The global perception about India’s hydrocarbon potential has undergone a sea change after this round. This has been the largest ever round covering 3.5 lakh sq km and 11% of the country’s sedimentary basin,” petroleum secretary M.S. Srinivasan said. The NELP rounds were started to boost oil and gas exploration, to reduce the country’s dependence on hydrocarbon imports. India imports around 70% of its energy needs.
The Petroleum secretary also warned that companies that had failed to deliver on the contracts on existing exploration blocks, may not be considered in future rounds. “Past performance needs to be defined and the issue will be addressed in the NELP-VII, which is slated to begin in April this year.”
The NELP-VII details will be finalised within a month. DGH plans to open up all the states for exploration and may offer 80 blocks in the next round.