The Vedanta group, that won the maximum number of blocks in the first round of oil and gas auctions under Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP), said production at the blocks will start by 2022.
“We should be able to bring the first oil before 2022,” said Sudhir Mathur, chief executive officer at Cairn Oil & Gas, Vedanta’s oil and gas subsidiary.
The Union government has launched the third round of auctions under OALP, in which 23 blocks were put on bidding for global oil and gas majors on Sunday.
Of the 55 blocks that were on offer during the first round, Vedanta has got 41 — while the remaining were shared between Oil India, GAIL (India), Hindustan Oil Exploration Company (HOEC) and Bharat PetroResources.
“Our vision is to have 50 per cent of India’s total production, hopefully more. To achieve this, we have lined up a very large capital investment programme of $3.5 billion,” he added.
The company also submitted bids for the second round of discovered small field (DSF-II) auctions. Of the 25 oil and gas contract areas on offer, the Anil Agarwal-led company submitted the maximum number of bids —21. A total of 39 players participated in the auctions.
The 25 contract areas cover 59 discovered oil and gas fields, spread over 3,000 sq km with prospective resource base of over 190 million metric tonne of oil and oil equivalent gas. Regarding the company’s aggressive bidding for the current round, Mathur said, “They are not big major movers but it helps us understand India’s geology lot better, train or people and bring oil to the country,” he added.
On the lacklustre response by foreign players for OALP rounds, he said, “It is difficult to put myself in their shoes but I think they find policy consistency a bit of an issue in India as things keep changing. They need much greater freedom. Like, we have always requested the government to allow us to export oil.” In 2013, the company had approached the government to get permission for exporting crude oil from its Barmer block in Rajasthan.
Agarwal had recently written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying the company is planning to invest $3-4 billion in the oil and gas sector over the next two years. At present, Vedanta is the largest private sector oil producer in India contributing around 27 per cent to the domestic production.