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Gas explorations to rake in 7 billion dollars for India

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New Delhi, Apr 11 (UNI) Oil and gas explorations through the country's latest efforts of auctioning blocks will rake in more than seven billion dollars as investments for India.

"We hope that all 55 blocks will be snapped up. We expect over 7 billion dollars investment within 24 months," Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Murli Deora said today.

Speaking to reporters here, the Minister said the total investment under the sixth round of New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP-VI) would be huge compared to 1.7 billion dollars investment under NELP-V.

"We expect a production of 20 million cubic metres of gas per day from next year from Coal Bed Methane blocks, which is 3.5 million tonnes of oil equivalent," Petroleum Secretary M S Srinivasan said.

The first round of NELP would commence production from 2007, he said. ''The reserves of 650 mmt of oil and oil equivalent gas have been established in last five years," he added.

"We have already sold data worth Rs 40 crore to oil companies worldwide. We will collect about Rs 100 crore by selling data only," the minister said.

The bids for the CBM round will be received by June 30 while those of NELP-VI by September 15, 2006.

Meanhile, oil companies from the US, the UK and Australia have exhibited interest in acquiring data pacakages of India's sedimentary basins for oil explorations, Mr Deora said.

''More than Rs 40 crore of data has already been sold to companies worldwide since the closure of previous round of New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP), which is far higher than the entire value of adat sold during the earlier round,'' he said.

There is heavy booking at some centres with no slot vacant until May 2006.

Mr Deora had recently concluded a ''successful'' visit to London, Houston and Washington to promote oil and gas blocks offered under the 6th round of NELP and third round of Coal Bed Methane (CBM) policy.

The Minister addressed oil and gas investors in these cities and met prominent members of the investor community in Europe and US.

He said oil and gas companies in the UK and the US have exhibited an unprecedented interest in the oil and gas offerings as was evident from the large attendance at all the roadshows.

The presence of the representatives of the companies was much higher than during the roadshows earlier held during the 5th round of NELP.

The Minister led the talks with Lord Browne, CEO, BP, Sir Robert Wilson, Cheif Executive of BG, Mr Rex Tillerson, EO, Exxon Mobil and Ms Linda Cook, Director Shell International. He also met officials of BHP, Conoco Philips, Anadarko, Maersk, repsol, Woodside and others.

The Australian leg of the promotional tour similarly witnessed an unprecedented response from oil and gas companies, especially for the CBM blocks, which is emerging as an important environment friendly source of energy in the country.

UNI/RT SC HT1740

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