ONGC signs contract for 7 blocks, OIL for 4 blocks

23 November 2020

Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) signed contracts for seven oil and gas blocks it had won in the latest bid round that saw scant participation from the private sector. 

Oil India Ltd signed up for the remaining four blocks awarded under the fifth bid round of Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OLAP).

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said with the latest bid round, the government has in the last four years awarded 1.56 lakh square kilometers of acreage for finding and producing oil and gas.

This compares to 90,000 sq km of area awarded in nine rounds of New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) and pre-NELP awards in the previous two decades.

He, however, wanted explorers to expedite the hunt for oil and gas to make the nation self-reliant in energy. "You have to exponentially speed up," he said.

Red-tape and multiple permissions needed for exploring and producing oil and gas have in the past led to several slippages in the committed timelines.

"Tell us, if you need more help," Pradhan said asking explorers to give suggestions on improving the regulatory environment. "Business as usual cannot work."

The minister also wanted the data repository set up by his ministry's upstream nodal agency, the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH), to be re-modelled on lines of the National Geoscience Data Repository (NGDR) of the mines ministry.

He wanted the data repository, which houses geological data of Indian sedimentary basins, to become an independent profit centre.