The government has deferred by one month the auction of 25 oil and gas fields that hold resources worth an estimated Rs 1 lakh crore, upstream regulator DGH said.
The second round of Discovered Small Fields (DSF) auction opened in August and December 18 was the last date for submission of bids.
"Due to consistent demand of investors, the last date for submission of bids for India DSF Bid Round-II is now extended till 1200 hrs January 18, 2019," the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) said in a tweet.
Bids will be opened on the same day, it added.
In 2016, the government brought in a new DSF policy wherein 'idle' small discovered fields of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and Oil India Ltd (OIL) were taken away from the companies and auctioned to private players on liberalised terms including marketing and pricing freedom and lower taxes.
ONGC and OIL say they have not been able to develop the fields due to their small size and current capped prices making their development unviable. Private companies will, however, get full pricing and marketing freedom.
When the DSF-II bid round was launched in August this year, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the fields hold resources worth Rs 1 lakh crore. Some of these resources would translate into higher revenue for the government by way of increased royalty paid on production, taxes and profit petroleum.
Pradhan had said that the government is expecting as much as Rs 45,000 crore in royalty, taxes and profit petroleum over the life of the fields.
In DSF-II, 59 discoveries have been clubbed into 25 contract areas spread over 3,042 square km and eight sedimentary basins.
In the DSF-I round, Rs 34,600 crore of resources were bid out. A total of 134 bids were received for 34 blocks out of 46 on offer.
The government is expecting a revenue of Rs 9,000 crore from fields bid out in DSF-I, with first oil expected in 2020.
The government had planned to offer 60 discoveries clubbed into 26 contract areas spread over 3,100 sq km in DSF-II but curtailed the offer to 25 areas comprising 59 discoveries due to some unexplained technical difficulty.
The fields are being offered in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Kutch & Cambay shallow waters, Mumbai offshore, Assam and Tripura, Mahanadi shallow water, Andhra Pradesh onland and KG offshore.
DGH officials said the main features of DSF-II include a single licence for exploitation of both conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon, prior technical experience not a pre-qualification criterion, no upfront signature bonus and full pricing and marketing freedom. Royalty rates have been reduced to 7.5 per cent from 10 per cent for offshore blocks.
In DSF-II, the fields on offer hold 190 million tonne or 1.39 billion barrels of oil and oil equivalent in place gas reserves. On offer are 15 onland fields and 10 shallow water areas. Of the 60 fields that were identified for DSF-II, 22 belong to ONGC, five to OIL and 12 are relinquished discovered fields from the New Exploration and Licensing Policy (NELP) blocks.
In DSF-I, 46 contract areas consisting of 67 discovered fields spread across nine sedimentary basins were put on auction.
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