ONGC and Oil India told not to bid in DSF round

Vol 20, PW 3 (20 Oct 16) People & Policy

If true, the oil ministry's informal directive to ONGC and Oil India not to bid in the Discovered Small Fields (DSF) round has far-reaching implications.

"We have not been formally told not to bid," says an ONGC director cautiously, talking to PETROWATCH on the sidelines of a bidder outreach event organised by the DGH at the Taj Palace hotel in Delhi on October 19. "But new players should be given the opportunity (to bid).

After all the fields have been with us until now anyway." Usually in exploration licensing rounds which are receiving a poor response the oil ministry asks ONGC and Oil India to bid so that it all looks like a success later. But here the opposite is true, a sign that the ministry is confident its efforts to drum up interest at various roadshows will yield results.

An Oil India director too gives a vague reply when asked about the rumoured directive. "So far, no such directive has been sent formally," he says.

"When the cabinet cleared the fields for bidding, all communications sent to the industry and other departments clearly mentioned that ONGC and Oil India are eligible to bid. But if the ministry tells us to stay away, we don't have a choice." Still unclear is how much winning bidders will be asked to pay ONGC and Oil India for the use of their established infrastructure.

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