No more postponement of NELP VII bid date: Srinivasan

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New Delhi, Jun 23 (UNI) The government today said the bidding date for the oil and gas blocks under the seventh round of the New Exploration Licencing Policy (NELP) will not be extended beyond June 30.

''There is no postponement of the bidding date...it remains the same as scheduled on June 30 and the contracts will be awarded in the next two months from June 30,'' Petroleum Secretary M S Srinivasan told reporters on the sidelines of a conference here.

The government had earlier postponed the bidding dates twice because of the contradictory views held by the Finance and Petroleum Ministries.

The date was last deferred from May 16 to June 30.

On the issue of tax holidays, Mr Srinivasan said, ''we have made abundantly clear to the prospective bidders on this.'' In the Budget 2008-09, Finance Minister P Chidambaram had announced end to income tax holidays for refineries commissioning after April 1, 2009. It also mentioned tax breaks under section 80-IB(9) would be available for production of 'mineral oil', which was defined as to exclude petroleum and natural gas.

Earlier, Mr Srinivasan had said the government expected to get investment commitments of about 3.5 billion dollars through this round of auction.

Under the largest ever round of auction, around 57 oil and gas blocks would be offered for bidding. Of these, 29 on land, 19 are in deep sea and nine in shallow water.

UNI SBA SG KN1355

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