Economy

Develop independent data management, monetisation mechanism for oil and gas sector: Pradhan

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on November 17, 2020 Published on November 17, 2020

ONGC and OIL sign contracts for blocks awarded after OALP-V bid round

There should be an institution that develops a monetising mechanism for oil and gas sector data, according to Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan. He was speaking at the contract signing ceremony for blocks awarded in the fifth Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) bid rounds. In this round, 11 blocks were on offer, of which seven were awarded to Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and four to Oil India Limited (OIL).

Pradhan asked ONGC and OIL to speed up production from the blocks they have. He said that statutory timelines are not usually adhered to in the oil and gas sector and this needs to change. “Companies that have won blocks in OALP and pre-OALP rounds need to pick up pace to keep up the changing times in the oil and gas sector. The companies need to focus on exponential speed and growth. In my opinion, the statutory time frame is not adhered to in the exploration and production industry,” he said.

He also said that the Centre is available to grant clearances so that these oil and gas blocks can be monetised early.

Data management

Commenting on the impact of Covid-19 on the OALP auction process, Pradhan said that if the pandemic had not struck, the Centre would have concluded the sixth round of auctions by now. According to the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH), the last date for submitting expressions of interest in the ongoing sixth and seventh auction rounds under OALP is November 30.

Pradhan said there should be an institution like Mineral Exploration Corporation Limited (MECL) for petroleum sector data management. “Whether it will be a separate company or a division of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas is to be deliberated. But we want a modern approach to data gathering and monetisation for the oil and gas sector,” he said.

MECL, a mini-ratna public sector enterprise, provides geo-scientific services for exploration and exploitation of minerals. It has recently diversified into mining and beneficiation of minerals and sampling and analysis of coal stocks.

NDR independence

Pradhan also said that the National Data Repository of the DGH can be further developed for this to become an independent profit-making institution.

In the four earlier bid rounds, 94 blocks spread over an area of 1,36,790 sq km have been awarded. In the fifth round, OIL has won two blocks each in Rajasthan and Assam Shelf & Assam Arakan basins in this round. ONGC has won two blocks in Cambay, one each in Bengal-Purnea, Cauvery, Gujarat Kutch, Gujarat Saurashtra and Mumbai basins. Invenire Petrodyne, the only other player that participated in bids did not win any blocks in this round.

The 11 blocks offered in the OALP Bid Round-V are located in Western Offshore (Saurashtra & Mumbai) & Eastern Offshore (Cauvery) and also spread across the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, West Bengal, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam over eight sedimentary basins. In this fifth round, 11 hydrocarbon blocks covering approximately 19,800 sq km were offered for exploration.

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Published on November 17, 2020
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