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India receives 145 bids for 25 small oil, natural gas fields

Staff Writer |
The second round of auction of 25 discovered small fields (DSF) in the Indian oil and natural gas sector has received 145 bids from 39 investors, including six foreign companies, the sector regulator has reported.

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The Directorate General for Hydrocarbons (DGH) states that domestic oil and natural gas exploration and production majors ONGC and Oil India submitted ten bids each, while oil refiner-marketer Indian Oil Corporation put in three bids.

Global resource major Vedanta put in bids for 21 DSFs, including one in which the company has emerged as the sole bidder. British oil and gas company, Soco International, marked its maiden attempt to enter the Indian sector putting in one bid for one DSF.

DGH received 145 e-bids for 24 of the 25 contract areas on offer for the second round of DSF auction at close of bidding on January 30. Of the total 145 bids, 103 were received for onshore contact areas while 42 bids were received for offshore contracts, a statement by the regulator says.

As many as 39 companies have submitted bids either individually, or as part of a consortium, and the response to the second round of DSF auction has been overwhelming, compared with the first round of auction in 2016, the DGH statement notes.

Six foreign companies have submitted bids. This round has seen more than anticipated participation of new entrants from India and overseas countries like the US, UK, Australia, Singapore and UAE, DGH says, but no confirmation of the identities of overseas companies is readily available.

According to the regulator, the process of awarding contracts will be completed by next month as the government is keen on early monetisation of the assets.

The DGH says that the 25 contract areas on offer covered 3 000 km2 with a prospective resource base of around 190-million tons of oil and gas equivalent.

The most significant part of the second round of DSF auction was that rules have been amended, wherein a successful bidder will be granted a composite licence for simultaneous production of conventional and non-conventional hydrocarbons from a single field.

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