In one of the most successful auction in recent times, more than 30 new companies have placed bids to grab oil and gas fields in India. In the discovered small fields auction, which closed on Monday, 42 firms placed a total of 134 bids for 34 contract areas out of 46 total areas on offer. In other words, nearly 73% of the contract area that went under the hammer received bids.
The existing oil and gas players who participated in the bidding include — Cairn India, HOEC, IOC, GAIL (India), Oil India and Bharat Petro Resources. A clutch of firms such as Sun Petrochemicals, Prize Petroleum, Gem Laboratories, Megha Engineering, Quippo, Oilmax Energy, Nippon Power, Invenire Energy, Ramayana Ispat, Duggar Fiber, BDN Enterprises, Mahindra Infrastructure, Akhil Teja Natural Resources, Essel Group, Gopalka Savings and Worldwide Oilfield, among others, also placed their bids.
Out of the 42 firms, five are PSUs and their subsidiaries, 32 are Indian private firms and five are foreign firms. Proven reserves in these fields are estimated to be 88 million tonnes of oil equivalent worth over R77,000 crore at current crude oil price of $45 per barrel.
Production of hydrocarbon from these fields would help India cut down imports to the tune of R3,500 crore annually, said petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
The response from private companies is overwhelming; around 37 private sector players submitted e-bids as against 27 during the last round of auction under New Exploration Licensing Policy or NELP-IX in 2012.
“Considering the fact that most of bidders were private players, response to on-land contract areas were much larger than that for offshore contract area. All the 26 on-land contract area received e-bids while 8 out of 20 offshore contract areas have received e-bids. Five foreign companies have also submitted the bids,” the petroleum ministry said in a statement.
“One of the important objectives of the bidding is to get more players into India’s E&P sector. And that objective has been fully achieved,” HOEC managing director P Elango told FE. HOEC bid for nine fields.