However, Kerala-Konkan region and deep sea blocks off Andaman & Nicobar Islands are being kept off-limits for the Chinese because of presence of “vital installations”. “Sensitivity of defence installations needs to be kept in mind at the time of allocation of these blocks for exploration activities,” it says.
In a similar strategic consideration, three deepwater blocks in Krishna-Godavari basin are proposed only for Indian companies for exploration. And in four shallow water blocks south of West Bengal, the ministry is categorical that exploration activity should be by an Indian company “preferably an Indian PSU”.
For all other bidders, the ministry has directed that the government-approved guidelines on overseas procurement of sensitive equipment be made binding.
“The petroleum ministry may devise a specific standard operating procedure on the issue, after incorporating the guidelines, once the same are approved by the government,” it says. The petroleum ministry plans to invite bids in February and recent indications are that only 46 blocks have been cleared by all concerned ministries.
* Of the 68 blocks proposed by the petroleum ministry for
inclusion in the 10th auction round, the Ministry of Home
Affairs has identified 53 locations where Chinese presence would not be allowed
* The ministry has advised that Chinese firms be kept off blocks that are in proximity to strategic installations
n Among the blocks that would be kept off-limits, 24 are in border areas of Gujarat-Kutch and Cambay basin
* Blocks in the Krishna-Godavari basin is open only to Indian companies for exploration
* Petroleum ministry plans to invite bids in February, and only 46 blocks have received full clearance