NELP-IX contracts

Vol 15, PW 18 (22 Mar 12) News in Brief

On March 17, oil ministry officials recommended 16 NELP-IX oil and gas blocks to the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs (CCEA) for approval so they can sign PSCs.

“We wanted to sign at least 16 PSCs by the end of March,” says a DGH source. “But even that target looks unlikely right now.

” Yet another six blocks, he adds, still await clearances from various government ministries, and the DGH might later sign those PSCs separately. In total, the DGH will only sign PSCs for 22 blocks even though it received bids for 33 of the 34 blocks on offer in this round by the March 28 deadline last year.

“We rejected bids for 11 blocks (of the 33),” says a source. “Most bids rejected were for deepwater blocks, mainly because of the low ‘profit petroleum’ offered.

” It’s hard to predict when the CCEA comprising oil, finance, defence and home ministers will finally clear all 22 PSCs. The DGH launched NELP-IX on October 15, 2010, offering 19 onland, seven shallow water and eight deepwater blocks.