BP, ONGC, Cairn bid for oil, gas blocks in India

BP, ONGC, Cairn bid for oil, gas blocks in India

Global energy giants BP, BG and Italy’s ENI are among the bidders for oil and gas exploration rights in India’s latest and largest yet licensing round.

Government officials said that India had closed the sixth round of its New Exploration Licensing Policy, launched in the late 1990s to introduce a more transparent, open bidding process.

It drew bids from 62 Indian and overseas companies at a time when foreign firms are struggling to gain access to promising parts of Latin America, the Middle East and Russia.

“The big evaluation criteria under NELP (New Exploration Licensing Policy) 6 is transparent and is even quantified and even sub parameters have been disclosed to the bidders. Today we have received 165 bids for 52 blocks,” said Anil Razdan, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

Three blocks received no bids.

“You will appreciate that NELP (New Exploration Licensing Policy) 6 has by far been the most successful rounds. We have received 165 bids for 52 blocks against 69 bids in the last round of NELP 5,” said Razdan.

India, Asia’s third-largest oil consumer, imports 70 percent of its crude and is keen to quickly tap any remaining domestic reservoirs to help offset its growing dependence on imports.

Top state-run Indian explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd. submitted bids for 45 oil and gas blocks in partnership with domestic and foreign firms, including BG, Cairn Energy, ENI and BP, officials said.

BP, which submitted an unsuccessful bid for a block in last year’s round, expressed an interest in two deepwater blocks this time round.

India’s top private energy company, Reliance Industries Ltd. bid for 21 oil and gas blocks.

Meanwhile, Canada’s GeoGlobal Resources is looking for five onland blocks in a tie up with State-run Oil India Ltd., while Calgary’s Niko Resources Ltd has entered solo bids for three blocks.

The government plans to award the blocks by November 15 and is expected to sign contracts by January 15, 2007.

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