Govt extends oil block bid deadline to June 30

PTI New Delhi | Updated on June 08, 2020

The government on Monday extended the last date of bidding for the 11 oil and gas blocks on offer in the fifth exploration bid round to June 30 in view of the lockdown.

The fifth bid round under Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) opened in January and was to initially close on March 18. However, the bid date was first extended to April 16 and then to June 10.

So far, the government has awarded 94 blocks in four OALP bid rounds in the last two-and-a-half years. The 94 blocks cover an exploratory area of about 1,36,800 sq km over 16 Indian sedimentary basins.

In the latest bid round, about 19,800 sq km of area is on offer for bidding, according to the Directorate-General of Hydrocarbons (DGH).

Under OALP, companies are allowed to carve out areas in which they want to explore oil and gas. Companies can put in an expression of interest (EoI) for any area throughout the year but such interests are accumulated thrice in a year. The areas sought are then put on auction.

The fifth cycle of submitting EoIs closed on November 30, 2019. This was followed by the sixth cycle that began on December 1, 2019, and was to last till March 31, 2020. It was to be followed by the seventh cycle from April 1, 2020, until July 31, 2020.

DGH has merged the sixth and seventh cycle of EoIs.

The EoI cycle for Round VI (ended March 31, 2020) and Round VII (ending July 31, 2020) stand merged, DGH said, adding the EoIs received between December 1 and July 31 will be clubbed and put on offer as a combined bid round.

The last bid round, OALP-IV, saw just eight bids coming in for seven blocks on offer. State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) walked away with all the seven oil and gas blocks on offer.

Published on June 08, 2020

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