DGH to launch NELP-IX this coming September

Vol 14, PW 4 (12 Aug 10) Exploration & Production

With NELP-VIII behind it, the DGH is ready to launch the next licensing round on September 30.

“We will offer 45 to 50 blocks in NELP-IX,” a senior DGH source tells PETROWATCH. He adds the DGH could offer blocks in the Cambay basin, Rajasthan, Assam and Tripura; it will also offer blocks offshore Kutch, Mumbai, the Kerala-Konkan and the Andaman Islands.

Explorers can also look forward to blocks in the KG basin, home to D6. “Assuming the total number of blocks is 45,” adds the DGH, “fifteen could be onshore, 15 in shallow water and 15 in deepwater.

” DGH officials are working hectically to finalise a Notice Inviting Offer (NIO) to launch NELP-IX. “We have taken note of the changes suggested by E&P companies to the (proposed) NELP-IX contracts (PSCs),” we hear.

As a precursor, the DGH organised an investors’ meet on August 9 in Delhi. Oil secretary S.

Sundareshan was to preside but was busy with a cabinet meeting so did not attend. Instead, the oil ministry was represented by additional secretary Sudhir Bhargava, additional secretary and financial advisor PK Sinha and joint secretary (exploration) DN Narasimha Raju.

Raju told listeners the meeting was organised to “elicit industry views before launching NELP-IX.” TP Rao, who heads the NELP department at the DGH, made a presentation on suggested changes from operators like Cairn India, Niko, ONGC, Oil India, Santos and BP.

Cairn wants ONGC and Oil India nomination blocks offered in NELP-IX and all exploration approvals cleared by the government before blocks are offered. BP wants an end to the ‘bid-bond’ system while Santos wants the government to compensate companies if they can’t meet exploration commitments because of delayed clearances.

Many want Phase-I work commitments to be biddable and spoke out against the mandatory 2D seismic requirement. ONGC said operators might want to shoot 3D right away.