New Delhi: Mining major Vedanta put as many as 30 bids even as Reliance Industries and its British partner BP Plc made their first joint bid for an oil and gas exploration acreage for the 32 blocks up for auction in latest licensing round. Besides, Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) bid for 20 blocks while Oil India Ltd (OIL) bid for 16 blocks, among others.
Bidding for 14 blocks on offer in the Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) round-II and another 18 oil and gas blocks and 5 coal-bed methane (CBM) blocks on offer in OALP-III closed on Wednesday.
Vedanta had walked away with 41 out of the 55 blocks offered in OALP-I last year. “ONGC bid for 20 blocks while OIL bid for 16. Indian Oil, GAIL (India) and SunPetro bid for two blocks each,” sources said.
RIL-BP made an offer for one block in the Krishna-Godavari basin. This is the first time that BP is bidding for an exploration acreage in the country. It had entered the country buying 30 per cent stake in RIL’s 21 oil and gas exploration blocks in 2011 for $7.2 billion.
RIL had on its own bid for six blocks in the ninth round of New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) but did not win any block. NELP has since been replaced by Hydrocarbon Exploration Licensing Policy (HELP) under which OALP bids round have been held.
However, sources said the block that RIL-BP has bid for is the same that BP had demarcated during the expression of interest (EoI) stage. India had in July 2017 allowed companies to carve out blocks of their choice with a view to bring about 2.8 million sq km of unexplored area under exploration.
Under open acreage licensing policy, or OALP, companies are allowed to put in an EoI for prospecting of oil and gas in any area that is currently not under any production or exploration licence.
The EoIs can be put in at any time of the year but they are accumulated twice annually. The blocks or areas that receive EoIs at the end of a cycle are put up for auction with the originator, or the firm that originally selected the area, getting a 5-mark advantage.
The two windows of accumulating EoIs end on May 15 and November 15 every year....