Second auction of discovered oil, gas fields launched (Lead)

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New Delhi : Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Thursday launched the second round bidding for Discovered Small Fields (DSF) having 190 million metric tons (MMT) of oil and oil equivalent of gas worth more than Rs 1 lakh crore. It is likely to fetch Rs 45,000 crore for the government.

"Under this round, 25 contract areas covering 59 discovered oil and gas fields spread over 3,000 sq km having currently known volumes of 190 MMT or 1.4 billion barrels oil and oil equivalent of gas are up for bidding," Pradhan said at the launch here.

The Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas said that if there is a complete bid it is likely to generate Rs 45,000 crore for the government exchequer and 85,000 new jobs.

The bidding will start in September first week and will continue till December 18.

Launching the Notice Inviting Offer (NIO) and Model Revenue Sharing Contract (MRSC) for DSF Bid Round-II, Pradhan said all pending reforms in exploration and production (E&P) sector have been brought about in the last four years by the Modi government.

Reforms like introduction of DSF policy, Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP), National Data Repository (NDR) and Hydrocarbon Resource Reassessment Study are aligned to the four energy pillars laid down by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said. The pillars are access, efficiency, sustainability and security of energy.

Of the 25 contract areas on offer, 15 are onland fields and 10 are shallow offshore areas. There are six onland fields in Assam and Tripura, four onland fields each in Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat and one in Rajasthan. And, Mumbai Offshore has six shallow water areas, KG Offshore two, and one each in Mahanadi Offshore and Kutch Offshore.

The first round of bidding for DSF in 2016 had generated 134 bids for 34 contract areas of which 30 contracts were awarded. It saw entry of 13 companies that were new to the country's E&P industry. The first round is likely to fetch Rs 9,300 crore for government and generate more than 37,500 employment, officials said.

"In the first round, Rs 34,600 crore of hydrocarbon resources were awarded while in the second round it is above Rs 1 lakh crore," Pradhan said.

With just 17 per cent of proven basin, the country holds a huge potential for further exploration. India's fiscal attractiveness has also improved with the transition from New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) created in 1997 to HELP in 2016 that replaced production sharing contracts with revenue sharing contracts, the official said.