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Govt launches OALP-III; 23 oil blocks offered for exploration and prod
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Govt launches OALP-III; 23 oil blocks offered for exploration and prod

Agency News

Greater Noida, Feb 10: The Government on Sunday launched third round of OALP (Open Acreage Licensing Programme ) bidding under which 23 blocks, with an area of approximately 32,000 sq. km. are being offered for bidding to the investor community under the investor friendly HELP regime.

Minister of Petroleum and Gas Dharmendra Pradhan here announced the bid round open with launch of Notice Inviting Offer (NIO) and Model Revenue Sharing Contract (MRSC) for OALP Bid Round-III at the 13th International Oil & Gas Conference and Exhibition “Petrotech-2019”.

OALP Bid Round-I launched by the Government in January 2018, was a grand success and was completed in a record time of 9 months. It received overwhelming success with 110 bids for 55 blocks covering 59,282 sq. km. area on offer. All 55 blocks were awarded to winning bidders in October, 2018. Operators of these blocks have either initiated exploration activities or in process of obtaining Petroleum Exploration Licenses (PELs) to initiate exploration activities. First oil/gas is expected before 2025.

Government had recently launched Bid Round-II on 07th January, 2019 wherein 14 Blocks with an area of approximately 30,000 sq. km. were offered for bidding. The bidding under OALP Round-II would continue till 12th March 2019 and the award of these blocks to winning bidders is expected by the end May 2019.

In the third round of bidding 23 blocks, with an area of approximately 32,000 sq. km. are being offered for bidding to the investor community under the investor friendly HELP regime. 18 blocks are based on Expressions of Interest submitted by the bidders, and 5 blocks where Coal Bed Methane (CBM) is primary target have been carved out by the Government suo motu with a view to augment Coal Bed Methane exploration and production in the country.

With this successful roll out of the HELP/OALP regimes, together with the National Data Repository (NDR), Government has achieved a massive addition to the exploration acreage of India. The acreage which stood at approximately 90,000 sq. km. in 2017 was enhanced to 150,000 sq. km. after OALP I and would touch 2,10,000 sq. km after OALP Round II and III bidding exercises by May 2019 and is expected to touch 300,000 sq. km. by the end of the year 2019, with another two rounds of bidding expected to be finalized (Rounds IV and V) in 2019.

The licensing programme under HELP which adopts the Revenue Sharing Model is a step towards improving the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ in the Indian Exploration and Production (E&P) sector. It comes with attractive and liberal terms like reduced royalty rates and no oil cess, marketing and pricing freedom, submission of Expression of Interests (EoIs) round the year, bid rounds commencing every six months, a single license to cover conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon resources, exploration allowed during the entire contract period, easy bidding process, transparent award and swift processing of approvals.

With the release of Notice Inviting Offer (NIO), bidders can study the data available in National Data Repository (NDR) and select blocks for the bidding. The bidders would be able to submit their bids through an online e-bidding portal starting 11th February 2019 and the bidding round would continue till 10th April 2019. The blocks are spread across 12 sedimentary basins; 23 blocks are on offer under OALP-III which includes, 19 Onland blocks including 5 CBM blocks, 3 Shallow Water blocks and 1 Deep Water block. It is expected that OALP Round III would generate immediate exploration work commitment of around USD 600-700 million.

The 4th cycle of submitting Expressions of Interest (EoIs) is currently going on till May 15, 2019 and would be followed by the 5th cycle till November 15, 2019. (UNI)