India may award oil blocks next March

NEW DELHI, Dec 7 (AsiaPulse) – The Indian government is
likely to award oil and gas blocks offered for bidding in ninth
round of New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) by March next
year, eight months behind schedule. “Some blocks (offered in NELP-IX) were held up due to
security issues. By March next year, most of the blocks will be
awarded,” Sudhir Bhargava, Additional Secretary, Ministry Of
Petroleum and Natural Gas said here today.

The government had offered 34 blocks in NELP-IX last year.
Oil Minister S Jaipal Reddy had at the close of bidding on
March 28, 2011, stated that the blocks would be awarded and
contracts signed with winners in four months.

“We were looking at (signing PSCs) by December,” Bhargava
said pointing to defence ministry raising objections to offer
of some blocks that fall in Naval exercise areas.

The government had in the previous eight rounds awarded 235
areas for exploration and production of oil and gas.

While Bhargava did not say how many of the 33 blocks that
were bid for in NELP-IX would be awarded, officials in his
ministry stated that a high-level panel of secretaries has
recommended awarding of only 14 areas.

Empowered Committee of Secretaries (ECS