After months of delay, India will launch the second auction of 14 blocks for prospecting of oil and gas in an attempt to raise domestic output to cut imports. Officials said the Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) bid round-II, with 14 blocks measuring 29,333 square kilometres in aggregrate area on offer, will be launched by Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Monday.
India had in July 2017 allowed companies to carve out blocks of their choice with a view to bringing about 2.8 million sq km of unexplored area in the country under exploration. Under this policy, called open acreage licensing policy or OALP, companies are allowed to put in an expression of interest (EoI) for prospecting of oil and gas in any area that is presently not under any production or exploration licence. The EoIs can be put in at any time of the year but they are accumulated twice annually.
The blocks or areas that receive EoIs at the end of a cycle are put up for auction with the originator or the firm that originally selected the area getting a 5-mark advantage. The two window of accumulating EoIs end on May 15 and November 15 every year. EoIs accumulated till May 15 are supposed to be put on auction by June 30 and those in the second window by December 31.