NEW DELHI: The biannual oil industry event, Petrotech 2019, saw unveiling of third round of Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP-III), on the first day of the three-day event at Greater Noida. Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan launched OALP-III, which put on offer 23 oil and gas and CBM (coal bed methane) blocks for bidding, which is expected to bring in $700 million in investments.
The third round of bidding consisting of 23 blocks and covering an area of 31,000 sq km, is available for exploration. This follows the OALP-II launch in January this year, which offered 14 blocks for global competitive bidding. The contract-signing for the 55 blocks offered under OALP-I last year was also done in January this year, along with the launch of OALP-II.
“With the launch of the third bidding round, more than 1,20,000 sq km of area has now been made available for exploration in last one year. The OALP adopts all features of HELP — reduced royalty rates, no Oil Cess, uniform licensing system, marketing and pricing freedom, Revenue Sharing Model, Exploration rights on all retained area for full contract life etc,” the petroleum ministry said in a release.
India moved to the open acreage system — where companies can identify potential areas of interest for exploration, carve out blocks and bid for them — in July 2017, from the earlier regime of fixed blocks. Also, these biddings are now on a continuous basis through the year, and companies can put in expression of interest any time of the year that are accumulated twice a year. “In one year, we have added about 1.2 lakh sq km of area to exploration kitty. This compares to 90,000 sq km area under exploration previously … Our effort is to accelerate exploration of all sedimentary basins of the country,” Pradhan said.