The government on Friday approved the award of less than half of the 33 oil and gas blocks that were bid for in the ninth round of New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP).
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved award of 16 blocks, oil minister S Jaipal Reddy said in New Delhi.
"Bids 16 blocks were recommended for acceptance by the Empowered Committee of Secretaries, the same has been approved by CCEA," he said.
The government had offered 34 areas for exploration and production of oil and gas in the 9th round of bidding under NELP and bids for received for 33 had been received at the lose of bidding on March 28 last year.
In the previous eight rounds of NELP, 235 blocks have been awarded so far.
The 34 exploration blocks offered in NELP-IX included eight deepwater blocks, seven shallow water blocks, 11 on-land blocks, and 8 Type-S (or small) on-land blocks, he said.
Sources said some blocks in Mahanadi basin off the Orissa coast had to be withdrawn as they fell in Naval firing/exercise areas while bids for several others had to be rejected due to various reasons.
CCEA approved award of two shallow water and two onland blocks to consortia led by ONGC. State-owned OIL led consortia got two onland blocks in the Assam-Arakan basin. Deep Energy walked away with two Cambay basin blocks while Focus Energy beat Reliance Industries to bag an area in Rajasthan.
The five blocks awarded to companies like Sankalp Oil and Natural Resources, Pratibha Oil and Natural Gas Pvt Ltd and Pan India Consultants.