Govt defers oil block bid deadline by a month to May 15
New Delhi: The government has again deferred the last date for bidding for oil and gas exploration blocks offered under the Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) by over a month to May 15.
Last date for OALP bid round II and III, which are running almost concurrently, was April 10 but has now been pushed back.
"Bid submission closing date for OALP Bid Round II & III stands extended up to May 15, 2019," upstream regulator DGH said in a notice.
It did not give reasons for extending the deadline.
The government had in January offered 14 blocks in OALP-II bid round and a month later offered another 23 oil and gas blocks and coal-bed methane (CBM) blocks in third round.
Bids for the 14 blocks offered in OALP-II bid round, covering an area of 29,333 square kilometres, were to close on March 12 but the deadline was extended to April 10, according to the Directorate General of Hydrocarbon (DGH).
April 10 was also the bid deadline for the 23 oil and gas and CBM blocks offered in the third round, which was launched on February 10.
OALP-II bid round was delayed by six months and its launch came barely a month before the third round.
Officials said OALP-II and OALP-III will run concurrently.
Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had at the time of launch of OALP-II bid round on January 7 stated that an investment of about Rs 40,000 crore is expected in the prospecting of oil and gas in blocks offered.
In the first round of OALP last year, as much as Rs 60,000 crore was committed in the exploration of oil and gas in 55 blocks or areas.
In the third round, the government is expecting up to $700 million (about Rs 49,000 crore) of investment that it hopes will help raise domestic output and cut imports.
India had in July 2017 allowed companies to carve out blocks of their choice with a view to bringing about 2.8 million sq km of unexplored area in the country under exploration.
Under this policy, called open acreage licensing policy or OALP, companies are allowed to put in an expression of interest (EoI) for prospecting of oil and gas in any area that is presently 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 window of accumulating EoIs end on May 15 and November 15 every year. EoIs accumulated till May 15 are supposed to be put on auction by June 30 and those in the second window by December 31.