Open acreage licensing: Vedanta gets 41 hydrocarbon blocks, OIL 9

By: | Published: August 29, 2018 5:19 AM

Anil Agarwal-led Vedanta Cairn has been awarded 41 of the 55 hydrocarbon blocks offered under the Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP), a critical part of the Hydrocarbon Exploration Licensing Policy (HELP), launched in March 2016.

The first OALP round did not see any foreign oil giant bidding while domestic major Reliance Industries also opted out.

Anil Agarwal-led Vedanta Cairn has been awarded 41 of the 55 hydrocarbon blocks offered under the Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP), a critical part of the Hydrocarbon Exploration Licensing Policy (HELP), launched in March 2016.

The Directorate General of Hydrocarbons on Tuesday announced the names of the winners, wherein apart from Vedanta Cairn — operator of the prolific Barmer field in Rajasthan — Oil India has been awarded 9 blocks. ONGC has won two blocks. One block apiece have been won by Bharat Petro Resources (an arm of BPCL), GAIL (India) and Hindustan Oil Exploration Company.

The first OALP round did not see any foreign oil giant bidding while domestic major Reliance Industries also opted out.

“We are happy with the allotment of the new blocks after the first round of Open Acreage Licensing Policy and thank government for placing their faith in us. We will work hard to make the best of this opportunity. We are an energy deficient country and policies like the OALP will help reduce country’s import dependence for oil from around 80% now to 67% by 2022, in line with PM’s vision. The development further strengthens our vision to invest in India and contribute 50% of India’s domestic crude oil production. In keeping with our values and ethos, we will continue to focus on sustainability and development expertise for people and communities to enhance lives,” said Anil Agarwal, chairman of Vedanta Resources.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set a target to reduce the country’s import dependence for oil from around 80% now to 67% by 2022 and 50% by 2030. The HELP’s hallmarks are single licence for exploration of all forms of hydrocarbons (including shale gas and coal bed methane), a simple revenue-sharing model and marketing and pricing freedom for developers.

ONGC had bid for 37 blocks under OALP-1 and OIL for 22 (both either individually or through a consortium) while Vedanta Cairn had put in bids for all the 55 areas that were on offer. As many as 110 bids were received in total – 92 bids were received for 46 on-land blocks and 18 bids came in for nine offshore blocks. Apart from the firms mentioned above, other bidders for the first round of the OALP, either individually or through a consortium, included Selan Exploration Technology and Sun Petro.

The 55 blocks have a total area of 59,282 sq km, compared with 102,000 sq km under exploration in the country at present. These blocks are spread across the country’s sedimentary basins Assam-Arakan, Mumbai Offshore, Cambay, Rajasthan, Krishna-Godavari Basin, Cauvery, Kutch, Saurashtra, Himalayan foreland and Ganga basins.

Under the HELP, blocks will be awarded to those companies that offer the highest share of revenue to the government.

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