Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Dharmendra Pradhan here today launched NIO and MRSC for Open Acreage Licensing Programme (OALP) Bid Round-II.Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas Dr M.M.Kutty and DG, DGH Shri V.P Joy were also present on the occasion. In this bid round, 14 E&P blocks, with an area of approximately 30,000 sq. km., are being offered for bidding to the investor community under the investor friendly HELP regime. 10 blocks are based on Expressions of Interest submitted by the bidders, and 4 blocks have been carved out by the Government based on data received through the National Seismic Programme and the Resource Reassessment Study carried out by the Government.Speaking on the occasion, Shri Pradhan said that the energy requirement of the country is increasing very fast, and we are mainly dependent on imports for fulfilling our fuel and transportation fuel requirements. E&P sector has been a challenge, and the Government has undertaken a large number of reforms to bring in more investment and increase domestic production. Almost 60,000 sq km area was offered under OALP Bid round I and 30,000 sq km more is being offered under the second round, while the third round is almost ready. He said that earlier the decision about exploration was based on the potential Government revenue, but didn’t yield much results. Now, the Government is working to increase production. For this purpose, IOR/EOR has been announced, production enhancement contract model is being worked out. The Minister said that more fiscal incentives will be given for increasing the production, and difficult fields will be given special incentives.
Shri Pradhan said that more transparency has been brought about in policy making and stakeholders are being consulted. He said that National oil companies will be encouraged to increase production, but at the same time, they will have to be more accountable and responsible. He called for setting up of Indian standards for petroleum with respect to quality, safety and other aspects which should usher in innovations. He expressed the hope that the investors will whole-heartedly participate in the bidding rounds, bringing in more investments, creating jobs and improving self-sufficiency and scientific capacity.India is 3rdlargest energy consumer in the world and likely to have one of the fastest growing energy demand of the world in the coming years. As a step to meet this growing demand and in line with Prime Minister’s vision of achieving Energy Security and Sufficiency, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG) has steered a plethora of reforms in the recent past years. The Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP) replacing the erstwhile New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) was approved in March 2016 and the Open Acreage Licensing Programme (OALP) along with the National Data Repository (NDR) were launched in June 2017 as the key drivers to accelerate the Exploration and Production (E&P) activities in India. The programme envisages six monthly periodic bidding rounds starting from July 1, 2017.The first bidding round under OALP (Bid Round I) was launched in January 2018 and closed in May 2018 and 55 blocks covering 59,282 sq. km.area were awarded in October 2018.The Government is also in advanced stages of finalizing the OALP Bid Round III with approximately 32,000 sq. km. of area and the bidding is expected to be launched within next few weeks.
With this successful roll out of the HELP/OALP regimes, together with the National Data Repository (NDR), the Government has achieved a massive addition to the exploration acreage of India. The acreage which stood at approximately 90,000 sq. km. in 2017 was increased to 150,000 sq. km. after OALP I and would touch 2,10,000 sq. km after OALP Round II and III bidding exercises by May 2019 and is expected to touch 300,000 sq. km. by the end of the year 2019, with another two rounds of bidding expected to be finalized (IV and V) in 2019.The licensing programme under HELP which adopts the Revenue Sharing Model is a step towards improving the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ in the Indian Exploration and Production (E&P) sector. It comes with attractive fiscal terms like reduced royalty rates and no oil cess, marketing and pricing freedom, submission of Expression of Interests (EoIs) round the year, bid rounds commencing every six months and a single license to cover conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon resources.With the launch of Notice Inviting Offer (NIO), bidders can study the data available in National Data Repository (NDR) and select blocks for the bidding. The bidders would be able to submit their bids through an online e-bidding portal starting8th January 2019 and the bidding round would continue till12th March 2019. The blocks are spread across 7 sedimentary basins, 14 blocks are on offer under OALP-II whichincludes 8 blocks (Onland), 5 blocks (Shallow Water) and1 block(Ultra-Deep Water). It is expected that OALP Round II would generate immediate exploration work commitment of around USD 500-600 million.