The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Thursday awarded five more oil and gas blocks that were offered in the ninth round of bidding under New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP-IX).
The government had offered 34 areas for exploration and production of oil and gas in NELP-IX in 2010 and bids for 33 were received at the close of bidding on March 28 last year.
Of these, CCEA in March awarded 16 blocks to firms like ONGC while bids for 10 blocks were rejected due to bidders offering lesser than expected profit petroleum.
The CCEA, on Thursday, approved award of five more blocks (see graph), Oil Minister S Jaipal Reddy told reporters here.
In all, CCEA was to consider award of six on-land and two offshore blocks but only five blocks were approved, he said but did not give reasons for not awarding three blocks.
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.In the previous eight rounds of NELP, 235 blocks were awarded. The 34 exploration blocks offered in NELP-IX included eight deepwater blocks, seven shallow water blocks, 11 on-land blocks, and 8 Type-S (or small) on-land blocks.