GAIL consortium, Deep Energy win oil exploration blocks

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SummaryA consortium led by state-owned gas firm GAIL India and Deep Energy today won an oil and gas exploration block.

A consortium led by state-owned gas firm GAIL India and Deep Energy today won an oil and gas exploration block each after the government rejected Ishar Gasoil Pvt Ltd's bids.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today rejected Ishar Gasoil's bid for three blocks that were offered under 9th bid round of New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP), due to company having "negative networth," Finance Minister P Chidambaram said.

Briefing reporters about the decisions taken at the CCEA, he said Ishar Gasoil's bids for three blocks – RJ-ONN-2010/1, GV-ONN-2012/1 and CB-ONN-2010/2 were rejected after considering the submissions made by the company, the view of Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) and recommendations of an Empowered Committee of Secretaries.

Since there was no other bidder for the block GV-ONN-2012/1, this block will not be awarded at all.

The other blocks were awarded to the next bidder, he said.

Block RJ-ONN-2010/1 went to a Consortium of GAIL, Bharat Petro Resources Ltd (BPRL), BF Infrastructure Ltd (BFIL) and Monnet Ispat & Energy Ltd (MIEL).

Similarly, the block CB-ONN-2010/2 when to a consortium of Deep Energy LLC (DEL), Deep Natural Resources Ltd (DNRL) and Safal WSB Energy Pvt Ltd (SWEPL), he said.

In all 34 blocks covering an area of about 88,807 square kilometres were offered in NELP-IX in October 2010. The blocks offered included eight deepwater blocks, seven shallow water blocks and 19 onland areas.

A total of 74 bids were received for 33 blocks (8 deepwater blocks, 6 shallow water blocks and 19 onland blocks) at the close of bidding on March 28, 2011. No bid was received for one exploration block in shallow water.

The CCEA in March last year approved the award of 16 blocks and rejected bids for 11 blocks. Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) were signed for 13 blocks on March 28, 2012.

Three blocks were awarded to Sankalp Oil and Natural Resources Ltd which signed the PSC on June 27, 2012 for one block CB-ONN-2010/10 only and declined to sign contracts for two blocks CB-ONN-2010/8 and CB-ONN-2010/9.

The CCEA in August 2012 approved the award of five more blocks.

The decision will accelerate exploration and production activities in the country and is expected to result in hydro-carbon reserve accretion, thereby, increasing the energy security of the country, an official statement issued after the CCEA decision today said.

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