India awards eight offshore blocks under 2016 bid round

India’s Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the award of operatorship for a total of 31 onshore and offshore oil and gas blocks.

The Cabinet said on Wednesday that the blocks consist of small oil and gas fields discovered by the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Oil India Limited (OIL).

Of the 31 approved blocks, 23 are onshore while the remaining eight are offshore.

The authorities said that the contract awards are expected to provide faster development of the fields and facilitate production of oil and gas thereby increasing the energy security of the country.

According to the government, these areas were discovered a long time ago, but could not be monetized due to various reasons such as isolated locations, inadequate reserves, high development costs, technological constraints, fiscal regime, etc.

Estimates provided by the Cabinet show the area has 40 million metric tonnes (mmt) of oil, and 22 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas, which will be monetized over a period of 15 years. It is planned for the production from these contract areas to supplement the domestic production.

In September 2015, the Cabinet approved 69 marginal fields for offer under the Discovered Small Fields Policy. Out of the 69, 67 fields were clubbed into 46 contract areas and put on offer through online international competitive bidding.

In November 2016, Indian oil ministry said that a total of 134 e-bids were received for 34 contract areas. Of the total number, 120 e-bids were received for onshore areas, and 14 e-bids were received for offshore areas. The bidding offer attracted a much larger interest from Indian companies with four foreign companies and 43 domestic companies submitting bids.

The Cabinet added that these contract areas had been awarded under the new regime of Revenue Sharing Model.

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