After potential investors from overseas sought more time to analyse data of 67 discovered oil and gas blocks under auction, the petroleum ministry has decided to extend the bidding by a month. Now, the explorers can submit their bids till November 30 as against the earlier cutoff date of October 30.
A formal announcement regarding extension of the auction time is likely to be made by petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Friday while he addresses a roadshow in Bengaluru.
Sources told FE that some potential bidders from London are seeking more time, while there would be another session with companies to answer frequently asked questions (FAQs) around October 19 in New Delhi.
Proven reserves in these fields are estimated to be 88 million tonnes of oil equivalent worth over R77,000 crore at the current crude oil price of around $45 per barrel. Production of hydrocarbon from these fields would help India cut down imports to the tune of R3,500 crore annually, petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan had said.
“There are several investors (who do not own blocks) who are keen to buy stake in hydrocarbon blocks and this is the best opportunity for them. Moreover, marginal fields give the chance to various services provider firms to take up these blocks that are small and discovered, particularly the onshore ones,” said a chief executive of a private sector explorer. The company is evaluating data for 20 blocks — 12 onshore and 8 offshore.
Pradhan has addressed roadshows across the US, the UK, Singapore and West Asia, apprising them of the government’s efforts to improve the ‘ease of doing business’ in the sector.