The discovered oil and gas fields, whose auction ended on Monday, would be awarded by December-end, petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan told FE.
In the discovered small-fields auction, 42 firms placed a total of 134 bids for 34 out of total 46 contract areas on offer. In other words, nearly 73% of the areas that went under the hammer received bids. “Again I am saying, this is a very enthusiastic bidding,” Pradhan said.
More than 30 new companies have placed bids to grab oil and gas fields in India. Paving the way for start-up firms and new
players with little experience in operating hydrocarbon blocks, the country’s two public sector explorers — ONGC and Oil India — have decided to stay away from the auctions.
“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 said. HOEC bid for nine fields.
Proven reserves in these auctioned 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.
Unlike the areas auctioned under the NELP adopted by India in 1999, the 67 fields auctioned now are “discovered” ones, meaning the reserve position is known.
The operators could therefore proceed to the development stage straight away without spending time and funds on exploration.
The government has determined fixed timelines to commence production from these fields — three years for onshore, four years for shallow-water and six years for deep-water fields.
The auction of discovered fields comes at a time when the Narendra Modi government aims to reduce its hydrocarbon imports by 10% by 2022 through increasing domestic output, fuel efficiency and the use of alternative energy. India currently imports 70-75% of its energy requirements.
The auction is done on a new revenue-sharing model where bidders have been asked to quote the revenue they will share with the government at low and high-end of price and production band.
The existing oil and gas players who participated in the bidding include — Cairn India, HOEC, IOC, GAIL (India), Oil India and Bharat Petro Resources.
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 also placed bids.
The response from private companies is overwhelming; around 37 private sector players submitted e-bids as against 27 private companies, 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 the offshore contract areas. All the 26 on-land contract areas 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.