Mumbai hosts first NELP-IX roadshow

Vol 14, PW 7 (23 Sep 10) People & Policy

Anyone interested in the next Indian licensing round will no doubt want urgent reassurance that none of the offshore blocks among the 30-40 or so drawn up by the DGH for NELP-IX fall in disputed waters.

One can only hope the government has learnt its lesson and drops any block where there is the slightest doubt. On September 29, news emerged that the government will formally announce NELP-IX in Delhi on October 15 – just as the Commonwealth Games draw to a close.

The first roadshow would be held in Mumbai on October 18. Several of the 40 blocks are yet to receive clearance from state governments, or from the defence and environment ministries in Delhi.

“Even the boundaries of some blocks are yet to be drawn up,” disclose DGH sources, in private. “Among the 40 blocks there will be an equal number of onland, shallow and deepwater blocks.

” The DGH has not yet selected a consultant to manage the round. Fugro Data Solutions is the clear favourite, but it hasn’t been appointed yet.

Fugro managed the NELP-VI and NELP-VIII rounds, while Schlumberger managed NELP-VII. “Fugro would need at least two to three months to organise road shows,” we hear.

“It couldn’t be done before Christmas.” Whoever bids for the consultancy contract might have to make do with less than expected.

PETROWATCH learns the DGH asked for a budget of Rs15.12cr ($3.1m) in a meeting with oil secretary S. Sundareshan on August 18 but was firmly told this was too high.

For NELP-VIII the ministry sanctioned Rs11.90cr ($2.64m) and agreed only a 10% increase for NELP-IX: Rs13.09cr ($2.91m). From this the DGH is hoping to pay not only for the road shows but also the cost of maintaining datarooms in Delhi (60 days), London (40), Houston (40), Perth (30), Calgary (30), Singapore (30), Melbourne (30) and either Kuwait or Dubai (30).

In the last round India received bids for only 36 of 75 blocks offered (less than half!) and signed PSCs for 33 in June this year.