Govt defers launch of NELP-VII again

Govt defers launch of NELP-VII again


New Delhi: The Government has pushed back by a month the launch of the much-delayed seventh round of auction of oil and gas areas under New Exploration Licensing Policy.

NELP-VII was to be launched on 5 November, but will now be launched not before 10 December, Petroleum Secretary M S Srinivasan said.

“Petroleum Minister Murli Deora had felt the advancing of winter session of Parliament would make it difficult for him to attend any roadshows to be held to attract foreign participation in oil and gas exploration, if NELP-VII was to be launched on 5 November," he said.

NELP-VII, in which 57 oil and gas blocks would offered for bidding, will now be launched after winter session of Parliament ends on 7 December.

“The present thinking is the round may be announced soon after Parliament session and data rooms opened for viewing by interested companies. Roadshows in US, Europe and Australia be held only after the annual Christmas and New Year holidays get over. Alternatively, NELP-VII may itself be launched in January," Srinivasan said.

The new round would be largest ever. In NELP-VI, India had offered 52 blocks with a gross area of 3,52,000 square km, which itself was many times bigger than earlier rounds.

Of the 57 blocks to be offered in NELP-VII, 19 are in deepsea, 9 in shallow water and 29 on land.

NELP-VII had been postponed several times. It was originally due in March-April, but the controversy over pricing of gas from blocks won under earlier NELP rounds and shortage of drilling rigs forced the government to defer it several times.