Government has rejected Oil and Natural Gas Corp's proposal to form a joint venture with UK's British Gas for exploration in three deep-sea blocks allotted to it and has instead decided to offer the blocks afresh in the next round of tender under NELP.
"... It has been decided to offer these blocks in the ensuing rounds of New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP)," Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dinsha Patel said in a written reply in Rajya Sabha.
ONGC had roped in BG as partner in the three Krishna Godavari basin blocks it had won on nomination basis few years back. But, validity of the exploration licence of the three blocks has either already expired or would expire next year, prompting the government to take back the blocks.
Patel said ONGC was in April 2000 given NELP terms to enable it to seek strategic alliances to explore and develop six deep-sea blocks, which includes 3 blocks in Krishna Godavari basin -- KG-OS-DW, KG-OS-DW-Extn and KG-OS-DW-III.
"The validity of licence in respect of one of these 3 blocks has already expired while the other two blocks are due to expire in January and May, 2007," he said.
However, it was only in 2006 that ONGC approached Oil Ministry seeking "in-principle" approval to have strategic alliance with British Gas, in respect of the three KG blocks.
"ONGC's offer of these blocks does not seem to have been able to generate sufficient interest among bidders, whereas under NELP offerings, extremely keen competition has been witnessed particularly for all KG blocks," he said.
"Considering these factors, within the overall exploration policy of the Government of India regarding a level playing field and emphasis on transparency, it has been decided to offer these blocks in the ensuing rounds of NELP upon expiry of their Petroleum Exploration Licence validity," Patel added.