Reliance-BP makes first bid for oil block; Vedanta bids for 30

Oil and Natural Gas Corp. had bid for 20 blocks

Reliance Industries and its British partner BP Plc have made their first bid for an oil and gas exploration acreage in over eight years by bidding for one of the 32 blocks up for auction in the latest licensing round that saw mining major Vedanta putting in as many as 30 bids while State-owned ONGC bid for 20.

Bidding for 14 blocks on offer in the Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) round-II and another 18 oil and gas blocks and five coal-bed methane (CBM) blocks on offer under OALP-III closed on Wednesday.

Official sources said Vedanta, which had walked away with 41 out of the 55 blocks offered under OALP-I last year, bid for 30 areas.

Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) bid for 20 blocks while Oil India Ltd. (OIL) bid for 16. Indian Oil Corp. (IOC), GAIL (India) and SunPetro bid for two blocks each.

Offer for KG block

RIL-BP made an offer for one block in the Krishna Godavari basin.

This is the first time that BP is bidding for an exploration acreage in the country. It had entered the country buying 30% stake in RIL’s 21 oil and gas exploration blocks in 2011 for $7.2 billion. All, but a couple of blocks, have since been relinquished.

RIL had on its own bid for six blocks in the ninth round of the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) but did not win any block.

NELP had since been replaced by Hydrocarbon Exploration Licensing Policy (HELP) under which OALP bids round have been held.

Sources said the block RIL-BP bid for is the same which BP had demarcated during the expression of interest (EoI) stage.

India had, in July 2017, allowed companies to carve out blocks of their choice with a view to bringing about 2.8 million sq. km of unexplored area under exploration.

Under this policy, called open acreage licensing policy or OALP, companies are allowed to put in an EoI for prospecting oil and gas in any area that is presently not under any production or exploration licence. The EoIs can be put in at any time of the year but they are accumulated twice annually.

The two windows of accumulating EoIs end on May 15 and November 15 every year. EoIs accumulated till May 15 are supposed to be put on auction by June 30 and those in the second window by December 31.

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