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Energy majors keen on Indian exploration blocks

Firms have snapped up data of Rs 200 mn related to 55 oil and gas blocks and 10 coal blocks offered for exploration.

india Updated: Feb 23, 2006 18:30 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

In an indication of global interest in India's energy deposits, major firms have snapped up seismic data worth Rs 200 million ($4.5 million) related to 55 oil and gas blocks and 10 coal bed methane blocks offered for exploration Thursday.

Stating that this response from global energy majors augured well for India, Petroleum Minister Murli Deora expressed the hope that this would translate into aggressive bidding for the blocks offered under the sixth round of the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) and third round of coal bed methane exploration.

"After five rounds, the area under exploration has increased more than three times, with reserve accretion of around 600 million tonnes of oil and oil equivalent gas and $5 billion investment commitment received," said Deora.

Of the 55 oil and gas blocks offered in the sixth round of NELP, 24 are in the deep sea, six in shallow offshore and 25 are onland blocks. Bids for these blocks will close Sept 15.

The closing date for bids for the coal bed methane blocks is June 30.

Deora said he would attend some of the roadshows being organised to drum up interest in the sixth round of NELP. The roadshows will start in Delhi March 10 and the events will also be held at London, Houston and Perth from March 20.

Investor promotions are also planned in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Doha, Dubai, and Calgary.

So far, India has offered 110 oil and gas blocks and 16 coal bed methane blocks as for exploration it seeks to raise domestic energy production to reduce import dependence.

Of the 15 oil and gas discoveries made in the last few years, the four major ones include Reliance's 5.3 trillion cubic feet (TCF) gas find at Dhirubhai Ambani wells one and three in Andhra Pradesh, Cairn Energy's oil find in Rajasthan, and Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation's find of 3.0 TCF gas in the Krishna-Godavari basin.

The reserves of some other discoveries are still being ascertained, officials said.

In the case of coal bed methane, Reliance has so far found about 3.6 TCF gas in two Madhya Pradesh blocks while Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has found 1.4 TCF gas in Jharkhand and Great Eastern about 1.0 TCF in West Bengal.

First Published: Feb 23, 2006 18:30 IST

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