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2nd round of oil field auction in 2017-18: Pradhan

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Buoyed by the success of first round, the plans to offer more discovered and gas fields of state-owned and in the next auction during new fiscal beginning April 1, Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said today.

It is also looking at giving incentives for enhanced and improved oil recovery schemes to help reverse the declining trend in output from ageing fields.

"We have just had a very successful round (of auction of) Discovered Small Fields (DSF). We are preparing ourselves for DSF-II and it will be launched very soon," he said at a workshop on EOR schemes.

Talking to reporters later, he said the DSF-II will comprise of idling discoveries of Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and Oil Ltd and the auction would be held sometime in 2017-18 fiscal.

"They (and OIL) have to be accountable. had given them the fields on nomination basis but that doesn't mean you will hold these fields for ever," he said at the workshop.

He warned and OIL officials of trying to create pressure through media to retain the fields on which they had not done any work after discovery.

In the first round, the had offered for bidding 46 fields made up of 67 oil and gas discoveries "surrendered" by the state-owned ONGC and OIL on finding them commercially unviable to develop under price control regime.

Of the 46 fields, 34 received bids and the Cabinet last month approved award of 31 of them, mostly to state-owned refiners BPCL, HPCL and IOC as well as company floated by directors of drugmaker Sun Pharmaceuticals.

Pradhan said the government will come out with a new EOR policy to incentivise companies to invest in new technology for arresting decline and raising production from ageing fields.

"A progressive EOR policy will be announced soon," he said.

The government, he said, wants domestic output to rise from current 37 million tons as it meets only less than 20 per cent of the oil needs of world's third largest oil consuming nation.

"No reform is final. Everyday we want to learn what is the best ideas available," he said, adding that production enhancement contracts will be announced soon.

He however did not elaborate on what he meant by the new contracts.

Pradhan said bidding under the open acerage policy, allowing bidders to carve out an area for drilling, will start from July.

This will be in contrast to the existing policy where the government pre-selects an area it wants to offer for bidding. Under the new regime, explorers can look at the seismic data of all the 26 sedimentary basins in and decide which the area or block they want to explore and drill.

Once an area is identified by a company, it will be offered for bidding and the explorer offering maximum will be awarded the block, he said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, March 15 2017. 20:15 IST