Vedanta gets 41 oil blocks out of 55 in first round of open acreage auction

Anil Agarwal-led Vedanta Ltd got 41 blocks, out of the total 55 on offer, under the country's first round of oil and gas auctions under the Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP-I).  

The Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) on Tuesday came out with the list of winners, which also included Oil India (OIL), with nine blocks, and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), with two blocks. Three companies -- Gail (India), Hindustan Oil Exploration Company (HOEC) and Bharat PetroResources -- got one block each. 

"We are an energy deficient country and policies like OALP will help reduce the country's import dependence for oil from around 80 per cent now to 67 per cent by 2022, in line with the vision of the prime minister," said Anil Agarwal, chairman of Vedanta. He added that the government decision will strengthen the vision of Vedanta's oil and gas division to contribute about 50 per cent of the country's crude oil production.  

The current round was in the news owing to the non-aggressive bidding strategy of the largest hydrocarbon player, ONGC. The company said that the move was a commercial decision.  

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The 55 blocks are spread across 10 sedimentary basins covering an area of 60,000 square kilometres. The blocks are spread all across India, including Assam-Arakan (19), Mumbai Offshore (2), Cambay (11), Rajasthan (9), Krishna Godavari (5), Cauvery (3), Kuch (2), Saurashtra (2) and one each in Himalayan Foreland and Ganga basins.

"HOEC is excited to emerge as the H-1 bidder for Block AA-ONHP-2017/19 under OALP bid round. This 75 sq km area is located adjacent to Dirok Field operated by HOEC. Together, this Greater Dirok Area holds several leads and prospects with ready access to infrastructure and market," said P Elango, chief executive officer of HOEC.  

Based on the existing policy, companies will get a single license to access all forms of hydrocarbons, along with a simplified revenue-sharing model with marketing and pricing freedom. 

Meanwhile, the second round of OALP, which kicked off the bidding process early this month, has received expressions of interest for only 13 geographical areas. Since it is a continuous process, the third round of OALP kicked off on May 16 and will extend up to November 15 this year.  

The government also aims at meeting a share of the increasing demand through domestic production and targets to reduce imports by 10 per cent by 2022. Currently, India is the third-largest consumer of oil and petroleum products after the US and China. India's share of global demand is expected to grow from the current 5.5 per cent to nine per cent by 2035.   

OALP-I winners 

Total number of blocks: 55

Vedanta: 41

Oil India: 9


Gail, BPRL and HOEC: 1 block each  

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