New Delhi: The petroleum ministry will launch the tenth round of bidding for oil and gas production contracts under the New Exploration and Licensing Policy (NELP) by the end of fiscal 2015-16, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Wednesday.
Addressing the India Oil and Gas Summit here, he said that in this regard, the ministry is examining the Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) that will allow upstream companies to bid for oil and gas blocks without waiting for a bidding announcement under the NELP regime.
However, the move to the OALP regime has to await the setting up of the National Data Repository (NDR) that will make relevant geo-scientific data for the blocks available to bidders.
For the 10th round of NELP, the ministry is expected to unveil a new bidding mechanism based on the revenue-sharing model as recommended by the C. Rangarajan Committee.
Pradhan also said he had a meeting on Wednesday with Bob Dudley the chief executive of British oil major BP.
"He assured the global oil majors' participation in the Indian oil and gas sector will increase going forward," the minister said.
The minister told the Lok Sabha during its recent session that the government had entered into 310 production-sharing contracts (PSCs) so far in the pre-NELP field and exploration bidding rounds and NELP exploration bidding rounds.
He said as many as 22 arbitration cases have been initiated in the last 15 years relating to production-sharing contracts entered into by the government. Among the companies which have initiated arbitration are Hindustan Oil Exploration Company, Niko Resources, Cairn India, Videocon Industries, Reliance Industries and British Petroleum Exploration (Alpha) Ltd.
Pradhan on Wednesday also said the lifting of economic sanctions against Iran following the nuclear deal will lead to further slide in oil prices that will benefit India.
"The signing of the Iran deal has come as good news for us. It will cut down India's crude oil import bill as prices will slide," he said.