ONGC to sign 17 new oil & gas block contracts
Moneylife Digital Team 29 June 2010

Of the 70 blocks offered in NELP-VIII, only 36 attracted bids from interested companies. ONGC and its partners won 17 areas out of their bidding for a maximum of 25 blocks

State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and its partners will sign contracts on Wednesday for half of the 34 oil and gas blocks awarded in the latest round of auction under the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP), reports PTI.

Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) for 34 out of the 36 exploration areas that were bid for in the eighth edition of NELP will be signed tomorrow, official sources said.

Of the 70 blocks offered in NELP-VIII, only 36 attracted bids from interested companies. ONGC and its partners won 17 areas out of their bidding for a maximum of 25 blocks.

Among the 24 deep water blocks that the government had put on offer, only eight received bids, all of which were single bids. ONGC and partners bagged seven, while Cairn Energy Plc of UK was the winner of the other such block, they said.

Of the 28 shallow water blocks on offer, 13 received bids. BHP Billiton Petroleum won three while ONGC got five of these as lead partner and one where Oil India Ltd (OIL) was the operator. Cairn Energy got a KG basin offshore block.

As regards 18 onland blocks, bids were received for 15, four of which went to ONGC. Other winners include Jubilant, Oil India, NTPC and Esveegee Steel.

Sources said the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) had in March rejected Deep Energy's offer for two onland blocks in view of "very low percentage share of profit to the government."

ONGC won seven deep-sea blocks—five as the sole operator, one as a joint operator with OIL and one with the BG Group of UK as the operator.

Its other partners in deep-water blocks included Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC), GAIL India, NTPC and Andhra Pradesh Gas Infrastructure Corp. Shallow water blocks had Indian Oil Corp and Adani Welspun Exploration Ltd as additional partners.

In all, ONGC won 17 blocks—in 14 as operator and three as non-operator, they said. In the previous seven rounds too, ONGC had won almost half of the 203 blocks awarded.

Out of 70 oil and gas blocks and 10 CBM blocks offered, bids were received for only 44 areas.

Sources said PSC signing for CBM blocks would be taken up later as the CCEA approved award only this month.

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