Ex-Cairn chief bids for 15 areas in DSF-2 round

Vol 22, PW 8 (07 Feb 19) People & Policy

Overwhelmed by the excellent response, DGH officers expect it will take time to evaluate the 145 bids submitted by 39 companies for 24 of 25 contracts areas on offer under the DSF-2 licensing round.

"At the moment we are evaluating technical bids," says a DGH official. One of the biggest surprises in this round was that bids were received for as many as 15 areas from newcomer Arch Softwares, a privately held company whose director Suniti Bhat is a former Cairn India chief operating officer scheduled to speak at Petrotech 2019 in his capacity as CEO of energy company Antelopus Energy.

Bhat and colleague Abhishek Prabhasha Pati are sole directors of both Arch, incorporated on March 5 (2012) and Antelopus, set up on September 25 (2018). Another major surprise was six bids from Invenire Energy, a company promoted by former HOEC chief and former head of Essar's E&P division Manish Maheshwari, who has long talked about setting up his own exploration company.

And a third surprise was the bid submitted by gas retailer SKN Haryana City Gas and EnQuest Drilling for the 151.99-sq km CB/ONDSF/A1/2018 onland contract area in Gujarat's Cambay basin near Mehsana. This same consortium had submitted a bid for the D18-DSF-2016 area off Mumbai in DSF-1 promising to drill 12 wells but chose not to sign a Revenue Sharing Contract (RSC) because of a disagreement with the government.