India relaunches auction of areas for oil and natural gas exploration

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Mumbai, Aug 8 (ANI): India on Saturday relaunched its largest ever auction of oil and gas exploration areas, aiming to attract USD 3 to 4 billion investment towards boosting energy security.

Union Minister for Petroleum Murli Deora kick-started the offer of over 70 oil and gas exploration areas in the 8th edition of New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) and 10 coal bed methane (CBM) blocks with the first roadshow here.

Deora said, "NELP can be portrayed as India's success story in our endeavour to achieve self-sufficiency in hydrocarbons."

He added that, under NELP, over 70 oil and gas discoveries have already been made in 21 exploration blocks by accretion of in place hydrocarbon reserves of more than 600 million tonnes of oil equivalent.

India is offering 24 deep-sea blocks, 28 shallow water blocks and 18 onland blocks for bidding in NELP-VIII hoping to attract USD 3 billion investments in exploration.

With the commencement of natural gas production in Krishna Godavari Basin from April 2010, the gas production in the country would be doubled, and in monetary terms it would be about USD 42 billion, Deora said.

A revised timetable has been drawn after the Finance Ministry extended the 7-year income-tax holiday to natural gas production.

Petroleum Ministry is planning to hold road shows in Houston on August 20 and 21, Calgary on August 24 and 25, London on September 8 and 9, Perth on September 22 and 23, and in Brisbane on September 24 and 25.

Deora informed that the data centres have been set up at oil regulator Director General of Hydrocarbons's office in Noida, London, Calgary, Houston and Perth.

Indian being Asia's third-largest energy consumer is aiming to cut oil imports and has till now awarded 203 blocks in the previous seven rounds with over USD 11 billion committed as exploration spend.

Since its advent in 1999, NELP has made 68 oil and gas discoveries in Cambay onland, North East Coast and Krishna Godavari deep-water areas totaling over 600 million tonnes of reserves. (ANI)

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