UK's BG Group and BHP Billiton of Australia today signed a contract for exploring oil and gas in a Mumbai basin deepsea block that they had won in the 9th round of bidding under the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP).
In all, 34 areas for exploration and production of oil and gas were offered in NELP-IX in 2010 and bids for 33 blocks were received at the close of bidding on March 28 last year.
Of these, 16 blocks were awarded to firms such as ONGC and Oil India, while bids for 10 blocks were rejected due to bidders offering lower-than-expected profits.
Of the 16 blocks awarded, Production Sharing Contracts (PSC) for 14 were signed.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) last month approved award of five more blocks and contracts for four of them were signed on August 30.
The PSC for Mumbai basin deepsea block MB-DWN-2010/1 was today signed with the consortium of BG Exploration & Production Ltd and BHP Billiton Petroleum (International Exploration) Pty Ltd, an official statement issued here said.
With this, 19 blocks have been awarded and PSC signed under NELP-IX round.
Of these, Petroleum Exploration License (PEL) has been granted by Central Government for two offshore blocks and winners of 12 onland blocks have applied to the concerned state governments for grant of PEL.
The PSCs for remaining five blocks were signed on August 30 and today and the awardees are yet to apply for grant of PELs.
In the previous eight rounds of NELP, 235 blocks were awarded.
The 34 exploration blocks offered in NELP-IX included eight deepwater blocks, seven shallow water blocks, 11 on-land blocks, and 8 Type-S (or small) on-land blocks.
In March, state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) cornered six blocks - four as operator and two as minority partner, but saw its bids rejected for eight areas including five deep-sea blocks.