What's holding up the Marginal Fields round?

Vol 19, PW 3 (08 Oct 15) People & Policy

It’s been a while since India held a licensing round – the last one NELP-IX was concluded in 2012.

But even though an oil ministry source optimistically tells PETROWATCH it will launch the eagerly awaited marginal fields bidding round by December 2015 or January 2016 don't get your hopes up. Our source clarifies that the central government must first ‘notify’ or approve and publish in the government of India’s official Gazette a new marginal fields policy before announcing a launch date.

“Until the policy is published nothing will move,” he says. “You know how the government works.

” When will the policy be published? “Difficult to say,” we hear. “Who knows? It might happen next week.

” But DGH officers, when contacted, describe the proposed policy as a “sensitive issue” with no clarity on how revenue sharing will work. An industry source who visited the DGH last week for information on the policy believes it can take up to three months before bidding is launched.

“The DGH told us the file is going back and forth between the oil and finance ministries,” he says. One operator thinks the bidding round might come out by December but worries bidders won't get enough time to study field data.

“The ministry and DGH might give bidders only two weeks saying the fields are discovered,” he says.