The government of India announced that it would auction 55 exploration blocks in the first bid round in eight years for prospecting oil and gas as reported by PTI.
It will be the first auction under the new Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP) that allows companies to carve out blocks to bring the unexplored area in the country under exploration.
Atanu Chakraborty, Director General of the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) said: "the HELP brought in open acreage licensing policy that allowed companies to put in an expression of interest (EoI) for prospecting of oil and gas in an area that is presently not under any production or exploration license." The 55 blocks have a total area of 59,282 sq km.
The blocks or areas that receive EoIs are put up for auction with the originator or the firm that initially selected the field getting a 5-mark advantage. In the new policy, "regulatory oversight burden is less and handholding is more," he said.
Bids are expected to commence from the first week of April and blocks will be awarded by June end. The oil and gas exploration in unexplored areas will help to raise the domestic production and will cut excessive dependence on imports.