57 cos buy data; large no of foreign cos participate

Richa Mishra

Bid closes today


According to

sources, the state-owned E&P major, ONGC is likely to bid for almost 50 blocks out of 55 put on auction under NELP VI. Indications are that ONGC could partner with either Italy's ENI, Brazil's Petrobras, or Royal/Dutch Shell for its bids.

New Delhi, Sept. 14

The race is hotting up among the exploration & production companies as the deadline for submitting the bids for 55 oil and gas blocks put on auction under the sixth round of New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) draws closer.

With almost all the companies maintaining a veil of secrecy as regards their bids and partners, official sources told

Business Line

that almost 57 companies have bought data of the blocks on offer as on Thursday. The bids close on Friday.

According to sources, the state-owned E&P major, ONGC is likely to bid for almost 50 blocks out of 55 put on auction under NELP VI. Indications are that ONGC could partner with either Italy's ENI, Brazil's Petrobras, or Royal/Dutch Shell for its bids. However, sources maintained that negotiations are still going on, and that there could be more partners or none. As regards the number of blocks, sources said, "We are examining all 55 blocks put on auction."

The company has recently signed a MoU with Petrobras for strategic cooperation and participation in exploration and production of hydrocarbons onland and in shallow-waters and deep-waters. Besides, in January this year, ONGC had entered into an understanding with Shell Exploration Company B.V. for wide ranging co-operation in hydrocarbons value chain. Following the MoU, Shell and ONGC had set up a steering committee to manage co-operation between them. ONGC was to offer Shell farm in NELP blocks and bid jointly in NELP.

Official sources said this would be the first time that a large number of foreign players are expected to participate in the bids. Over 30 foreign companies and more than 17 Indian companies have bought data of the 55 blocks put on auction, sources added.

The acreage offered includes 24 deep-water blocks, with seven in the Krishna-Godavari basin, and seven in the Mahanadi basin. The 25 on-land blocks include three in Rajasthan, and two in coastal districts of the Krishna-Godavari region. There are also six offshore blocks in shallow waters, including two off the Mumbai coast, two near Gujarat and one in the Krishna-Godavari basin.

New entrant Anil Ambani- led Reliance Energy Ltd is also expected to aggressively participate.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated September 15, 2006)
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