Fearing poor response, the government is likely to extend by at least one month the last date of bidding for the auction of 46 small oil and gas fields that were “given-up” by state-owned ONGC and Oil India. Bidding for the auction, the first in over four years, is to close on October 31.
There are apprehensions about the response after prospective bidders complained about the quality and amount of data being made available on the fields that have been put on offer, sources privy to the development said. For bidders to make decisions, more data particularly about size of reserves is required and making that available would require extending the deadline, they said.
Also, some prospective bidders have raised concerns about the size of the blocks or fields on offer. They says 10 square kilometer offering, one-tenth of the smallest block ever offered in the previous bid rounds, was too small. Sources said the bidders feel the block area has to be larger to give them room for probing for oil and gas reserves.
After holding roadshows in India and abroad, the Oil Ministry’s technical arm, the DGH will on October 19 hold an “outreach” even on the Discovered Small Fields Bid Round 2016 in national capital. A ‘Bidder Facilitation Workshop’ is planned at the event to “resolve queries of the bidders”, they said adding the extension of the bid deadline may be announced there. The auction, which was announced on May 25, is to be conducted on simpler contractual terms together with pricing and marketing freedom.
India liberalised its exploration and production regime almost two decades ago when in early 1990s it auctioned about 28 fields to private and public investors. In late 1990s, it further liberalised its E&P sector with the introduction of New Exploration Licensing Regime (NELP) regime that allowed 100 per cent FDI and offered a level playing field to private and national oil companies.