The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG) has extended the bid submission date for the Open Acreage Licensing Programme (OALP) bidding round IX, which was launched by Oil Minister H S Puri on January 3.

Now the last date of submission for the latest bidding round has been extended from February 29 to May 15, 2024, under which the government has offered 8 blocks spread over 0.42 lakh sq km for exploration and production (E&P) of hydrocarbons.

Of the eight blocks, three are in the Cauvery basin, two each in Saurashtra and Assam Shelf and one in the Cambay basin. While 6 blocks are spread over Category-I basins, the other two are in Category-II.

Category–I basins are those which have proven hydrocarbon resources with established commercial production, while Category–II have contingent resources that are yet to be converted to recoverable reserves and commercial production. Category–III basins have prospective resources with no hydrocarbon discovery and few exploration inputs and data.

In the ninth OLAP round, three blocks each are in Ultra Deep-Water (27,154 and Onland (3,666, while another two blocks are in Shallow Water (11,039

Bidding rounds

In January, state-run firms Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Oil India (OIL) collectively secured eight of the 10 oil and gas blocks offered under the eight round of OALP.

Besides, a consortium of Reliance Industries (RIL) and BP as well as Sun Petrochemicals secured a block each. While ONGC secured the highest seven blocks, OIL secured one block.

The first seven OALP Bid Rounds led to an award of 134 blocks, covering an area of about 2,07,691 sq km to leading E&P companies. Now, with the award of 10 more blocks under Round-VIII, a total of 144 exploratory blocks have been awarded under the HELP regime covering an area of 2,42,055 sq km.


In March 2016, the government introduced OALP as a part of the Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP).

The DGH facilitates investors in proposing, through a suo motu Expression of Interest (EoI), blocks of their choice for contracting based on the data available in the National Data Repository (NDR).

The applications for suo motu EoI can be filed for Revenue Sharing Contract (RSC) which permits exploration, development and production operations in any of the onland (including CBM), shallow water, deep water and ultra deep water block for all types of hydrocarbons.

Besides, companies selected through competitive bidding would enter into contract with the government as per the Model Revenue Sharing Contract (MRSC) published before the competitive bidding. Such model contracts will be based on the principles of HELP.