Govt invites bid for oil, gas resources worth Rs 1 trillion in DSF round-II

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India on Thursday put up for bidding 25 discovered oil and gas fields, holding resources of an estimated Rs 1 trillion, as it looked to expedite production from areas lying idle for years.

Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan launching the second round of Discovered Small Fields (DSF) said the government is expecting as much as Rs 450 billion in royalty, taxes and profit petroleum over the life of the fields.

In DSF-II, 59 discoveries have been clubbed into 25 contract areas spread over 3,042 square kilometers and eight sedimentary basins. The last date of bidding is December 18 and contracts will be awarded within January 2019.

"In the DSF-I round, Rs 346 billion of resources were bid out. In DSF-II, fields holding Rs 1 trillion of hydrocarbon resources are being offered," he said.

In the first round of bidding for DSF last year, 134 bids were received for 34 blocks out of 46 on offer.

Pradhan said the government is expecting a revenue of Rs 90 billion from fields bid out in DSF-I, with first oil expected in 2020. Also, DSF-II would generate 85,000 jobs, he said.

The government had planned to offer 60 discoveries clubbed into 26 contract areas spread over 3,100 sq km in DSF-II but curtailed the offer to 25 areas comprising of 59 discoveries due to some unexplained technical difficulty.

The fields are being offered in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Kutch & Cambay shallow waters, Mumbai offshore, Assam and Tripura, Mahanadi shallow water, Andhra Pradesh onland and KG offshore.

V P Joy, Director General of the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) said the main features of DSF-II include a single licence for exploitation of both conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon, prior technical experience not a pre-qualification criterion, no upfront signature bonus and full pricing and marketing freedom.

"Royalty rates have been reduced 7.5 per cent from 10 per cent for offshore blocks," he said.

The government had in 2016 brought a new DSF policy, offering "idle" small discovered fields of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and Oil India Ltd (OIL) in an auction on liberalised terms including marketing and pricing freedom and lower taxes.

In DSF-II, the fields on offer hold 190 million tonnes or 1.39 billion barrels of oil and oil equivalent in place gas reserves. On offer are 15 onland fields and 10 shallow water areas.

Of the 60 fields that were identified for DSF-II, 22 belong to ONGC, five to OIL and 12 are relinquished discovered fields from the New Exploration and Licensing Policy (NELP) blocks.

In DSF-I, 46 contract areas consisting of 67 discovered fields spread across nine sedimentary basins were put on auction.

Pradhan said the government will award exploration areas offered in the first bid round of a separate open acreage licensing policy (OALP) next week.

Mining mogul Anil Agarwal-led Vedanta Ltd is likely to win 41 areas while state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) would get just two of the 55 blocks that were on offer. Oil India Ltd (OIL) is likely to get nine blocks.

Bidding for OALP-I round closed in May.

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