GUWAHATI: Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Saturday said that the central government will start the global bidding process for 12 small oil and gas fields in Assam along with 55 others even as Assam's prominent farmers' body Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) protested against the move and demanded the state fields be excluded.
Pradhan, who was on a tour of the state, also inaugurated a road show at a hotel here to attract bidders for the 67 oilfields across the country.
Close to 100 agitators shouted slogans outside the hotel against the Union Minister and the BJP central and state governments, demanded that the 12 discovered oil fields in Assam should be excluded from the bidding process and FDI in oil sector be stopped.
Police, however, later carried out a baton charge to disperse the crowd. Some of the agitators were also taken into detention to contain the situation but released later in the evening.
Pradhan, who interacted with the media after inaugurating the road show and interacting with over 200 industry leaders there, said that the 12 fields in Assam have been clubbed into eight clusters.
"The fields hold estimated reserve of 21 million metric tonnes (MMT) of oil and oil equivalent gas. The rest of fields are mostly spread across Mumbai offshore and Krishna-Godavari basin. These 67 fields, including the 12 from Assam, were discovered some 20-30 years back and are lying undeveloped with either the Oil India Limited (OIL) or Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC)," he said.
The minister further highlighted that Assam contributed about 10 per cent of the country's total crude Oil and Natural Gas production and within the present resources available, 44 per cent has been tapped, leaving an opportunity to establish and develop the remaining 56 per cent resource base in the region.
"The 'Discovered Small Fields Bid Round 2016' is an investor-friendly policy which offers 46 Contract Areas consisting of 67 different small fields across 9 sedimentary for extraction and exploration of oil and gas.
"Some of the key features of the policy include no upfront signature bonus, freedom in oil and gas pricing, no oil cess, custom duty exemption and graded royalty rates. Investors will access information dockets through the e-bidding gateway. Also, Physical Data Centers with Interpretation Facility would be set up in the DGH office and other international locations where prospective bidders can access the data," Pradhan added.
Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) gave an elaborate presentation to highlight the features of the Discovered Small Field Round along with the details of the contract areas on offer and the bidding timelines. Representatives from ONGC and OIL India gave presentations on the infrastructure and facilities available near the offered fields.