New Delhi: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Thursday approved award of five more oil and gas blocks that were offered in the ninth round of bidding under New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP).

A file photo of oil minister S Jaipal Reddy.

In all the CCEA was to consider award of six onland and two offshore blocks but only five blocks were approved, he said but did not give reasons for not awarding three blocks.

Mumbai basin deep-sea block MB-DWN-2010/1 was awarded to consortium of UK’s BG Exploration & Production Ltd and BHP Billiton Petroleum (International Exploration) Pty Ltd of Australia. BG-BHP combine beat a consortia of Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), Oil India Ltd (OIL) and GAIL to the block.

Shallow water block MB-OSN-2010/2 in the same basin is due to be awarded to a consortium of OIL, Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) and Bharat Petro Resources Ltd, who were the sole bidders.

Sources said the required clearance from the ministry of defence had been received for exploration in the two offshore blocks. Earlier, the two Mumbai basin blocks could not be awarded to the first ranked bidders as there was no defence clearance. The Assam-Arakam basin onshore block AA ONN-2010/1 went to a consortium of Prize Petroleum and ABG Energy. PTI