Govt to auction 60 small oil, gas fields with potential of 194 mn tonnes

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday cleared a proposal to conduct the second round of Discovered Small Fields (DSF) auctions, in which 60 oil and gas fields will be up for grabs for investors.

About 22 of these fields belong to Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and 5 fileds belong to the Oil India Limited(OIL). Of the rest, 21 fields are the ones which did not find any takers during the first round of DSF and 12 were relinquished discovered fields from the New Exploration and Licensing Policy (NELP) rounds. This is likely to have reserves to the tune of 194.65 Million Metric tonnes of oil equivalent (MMtoe).

The government is estimating generation of 88,000 direct and indirect jobs through the investments in these fields. During the first round of DSF, 30 companies got awarded with blocks — out of which 23 are onshore and seven are offshore blocks. “Success of DSF Bid Round 2016 in the face of global economic slowdown and low oil prices manifests the benefits of new E&P regime for the Investors,” a DGH presentation at the World Petroleum Congress (WPC) in Istanbul said.

India has 26 sedimentary basins over 3.14 million sq. km, and crude oil and natural gas are being produced in seven basins. In the new rounds, 2.7 million sq. km will be on offer, comprising 1.5 million sq. km of onshore and 1.2 million sq. km of offshore areas. As per the new Hydrocarbon Exploration Licensing Policy (HELP), these blocks will be up for grabs on a revenue-sharing model, providing pricing and marketing freedom to operators.

On June 28, India had launched its National Data Repository (NDR) for investors keen on the ongoing Open Acreage Licencing (OAL) round. In the NDR, sedimentary basins gridded into sectors and divided into zones with corresponding data are made available.

More power for ports

Meanwhile, the Cabinet also approved the incorporation of the Official Amendments to the Major Port Authorities Bill 2016, giving more powers to the boards of major ports in India. Based on the new amendments, the Board of each Major Port shall be entitled to create specific master plan in respect of any development or infrastructure established or proposed to be established within the port limits and such master plan shall be independent of any local or State Government regulations of any authority, a government statement said.

It also increased the number of the Labour representatives to be appointed in the Port Authority Board among the serving employees of the Port has been increased from one to two, while number of independent members were also increased from two to four.

Health and medical sector

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved schemes worth about ~149.3 billion to boost the availability of human resources for health and medical sector, including the establishment of 24 new medical colleges in unreserved areas.

Other than the new colleges, 18,058 undergraduate and postgraduate seats will be increased in medical colleges by 2020-21, according to a statement.

The government also plans to set up 248 nursing and midwifery schools. The establishment of 24 new medical colleges attached with existing district/referral hospitals will take place by 2021-22. The establishment of the new colleges and increase of MBBS and PG seats would increase the availability of health professionals, check the existing geographical distribution of medical colleges.

It will promote affordable medical education in the country, utilise the existing infrastructure of district hospitals and improve tertiary care in the government sector, the statement said.

It has been planned to ensure at least one medical college for every 3-5 parliamentary constituencies and at least one government medical colleges in the state.

The location of new medical colleges will be selected by the state government within the identified blocks in a "challenge mode", it said.

The scheme will serve to create additional 10,000 MBBS and 8,000 PG seats in the country, bridge the gap in number of seats available in government and private sector, mitigate the shortage of doctors and medical faculty in India by increasing the number of seats and to achieve the desired doctor- population ratio, upgrade PG teaching facilities in government medical colleges.

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