Oil Block Bid Deadline Extended


The Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) has extended the last date of bidding for the 11 oil and gas blocks on offer in the fifth exploration bid round to June 10 in view of the country-wide lockdown in the country.

The fifth bid round under Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) opened in January and was to initially close on March 18. However, the bid date was first extended to April 16 and then late last month, it was extended again.

According to DGH, so far, the government has awarded 94 blocks in four rounds in the last two-and-a-half years. These 94 blocks cover an exploratory area of about 1,36,800 square kilometres over 16 Indian sedimentary basins. In the latest bid round, about 19,800 sq km of area is on offer for bidding. Under OALP, companies are allowed to carve out areas they want to explore oil and gas in.

Companies can put in an expression of interest (EoI) for any area throughout the year but such interests are accumulated thrice in a year. The areas sought are then put on auction. The last bid round, OALP-IV, saw just eight bids coming in for seven blocks on offer.

State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) won all the seven oil and gas blocks on offer. Unlike previous rounds where blocks were awarded to companies offering a maximum share of oil and gas to the government, blocks in little or unexplored Category-II and III basins are now awarded to companies offering to do maximum exploration programme.

The 11 blocks under OALP Round-V are spread across 8 sedimentary basins and include eight on land blocks (six in Category-I Basin and one each in Category II and III Basins), two shallow-water blocks (one each in Category-I and II Basins) and one ultra-deepwater block (Category I Basin).

At the time of the launch of OALP-V, DGH had stated that the round is expected to “generate immediate exploration work commitment of around USD 400-450 million”.

These OALP Bid Round-V Blocks would add further 19,800 sq km. Overall Exploration Acreage of India would then increase to 2,36,600 sq km,” it had said at that time. Of the 94 blocks awarded in the first four rounds of OALP, Vedanta has won the maximum at 51.

Oil India Ltd has got 21 blocks and ONGC another 17. All 11 blocks in OALP-V are based on EoIs received during EoI Window-V from May 16, 2019, to November 30, 2019, according to DGH.