Oil officials clear past contracts as NELP draws to close

Vol 3, PW 23 (08 Dec 99) Exploration & Production

Moves to clear the Ratna PSC and other unsigned contracts from five years ago is proof that the process of awarding acreage under the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) is drawing to a close.

A source in Delhi confirms that this is indeed the case and that the oil ministry has formally passed on its NELP recommendation to a group of Indian officials called the Empowered Committee of Secretaries. Once this committee has approved, it will ask the cabinet to put its signature before calling the parties to begin PSC talks.

In the meantime, ministry officials dealing with NELP are turning their attention to past awards, the most important of which is Ratna. Other companies to benefit from this flurry of activity are Hindustan Oil Exploration Company (HOEC) and Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC), both of whom were also invited to begin PSC talks at the oil ministry on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd December.