India’s first oil and gas auctions under the Open Acreage License Policy (OALP) is set to become an Anil Agarwal show, with the billionaire’s Vedanta Ltd likely to grab around 40 blocks of the 55 on offer.
Agarwal’s company, in fact, outbid India’s largest hydrocarbon producer, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), in a majority of the 30 blocks they were facing head-on. Sources reveal state-run Oil India (OIL) has got at least eight blocks, more than what ONGC got during this round. This was after the bids opened on Tuesday.
Dilip Shanghvi’s Sun Petrochemicals and Selan Exploration Technology that bid for one block each have lost their bids, confirmed a source. Hindustan Oil Exploration Company (HOEC) became the only other private company to grab a block. HOEC is the largest private sector producer in the northeast region. “Price bids are still under the evaluation. As of now, Vedanta has won the highest number (around 40) of bids based on the Lower Revenue Point (LRP) and Higher Revenue Point (HRP) the bidders had to submit,” said a source. A Sun Petrochemicals official said the firm was likely to be out of the race. The 55 blocks are across 10 sedimentary basins, covering 60,000 sq km. These are across India: Assam-Arakan (19), Mumbai Offshore (2), Cambay (11), Rajasthan (9), Krishna Godavari (5), Cauvery (3), Kutch (2), Saurashtra (2) and one each in the Himalayan foreland and Ganga basins.
After evaluation of price bids, the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) will send it to the petroleum ministry for clearance. The round had grabbed headlines after Vedanta bid for all the blocks available. In a few blocks, state-run companies had even joined hands to bid against Vedanta.
OALP-I involved two sections, the first in which interested parties submitted Expressions of Interest (EoIs) and the second in which others also chipped in with a price bid. Soon after the closure of OALP-1, the DGH's Twitter handle tweeted that the last date for EoIs for OALP-II was May 15. A team headed by petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan will be holding a roadshow on India’s exploration and production sector on May 14. Meanwhile, the second round of discovered small and marginal field auctions are likely to start in a month.
The current round was considered to be investor-friendly, as it gave single licence for all forms of hydrocarbons, along with a simplified revenue-sharing model, with marketing and pricing freedom. The government also launched its biggest city gas licensing round on Tuesday, offering 86 geographical areas covering 174 districts. It will be covering 29 per cent of India's population and 24 per cent of the geographical area.