Smaller blocks for NELP-VIII round

Vol 12, PW 18 (12 Feb 09) News in Brief

India’s next licensing round, NELP-VIII, will see smaller sized blocks on offer than in earlier rounds because the DGH wants to discourage companies from bidding outrageous work programmes and ridiculous well commitments.

This is an oft-repeated complaint of overseas oil companies that are routinely outbid by aggressive domestic companies like ONGC, GSPC and Reliance. “The size of the blocks in NELP-VIII will be smaller,â€‌ confirms a senior DGH source.

“Smaller blocks will attract more medium and small-sized companies.â€‌ Our source adds that data packages are under preparation for the identified blocks.

“You can expect about 100 blocks, plus or minus a few.â€‌ NELP-VIII, our source says, will most likely be unveiled in the first week of March.

“The actual date will be decided by the (oil) minister (Murli Deora).â€‌ As with NELP-VII, we are told, NELP-VIII will feature a set of blocks for which companies need not have any previous upstream experience.