Livemint: June 29, 2017
New Delhi: Upstream oil and gas regulator the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) on Wednesday unveiled a national data repository of the entire unexplored area in the country for businesses to search for fossil fuels.
The move is part of implementing the open acreage licensing policy approved in March, 2016. It allows hydrocarbon companies to express interest in an area of their choice which the government will offer in a global competitive bidding. This ensures industry involvement from the early stage of choosing the areas to be auctioned, which may increase investor interest.
Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who launched the data repository, said the government’s intention is to complete the first auction under the new policy by December, 2017. The process will start in July.
The liberal Hydrocarbon Exploration Licensing Policy (HELP) introduced last year offers pricing and marketing freedom to investors. This, Pradhan said, will boost investor interest.
The 26 sedimentary basins on offer cover the entire unexplored area in the country.
“Increasing the area under exploration is a step towards the goal set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi of reducing import dependence on oil and gas by 10 percentage points from 2015 levels by 2022. This calls for a substantial increase in production for which increasing the acreage is important,” said petroleum secretary K.D. Tripathi.
Initially, bidding rounds will be organized twice a year, Tripathi said.
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