Next round of NELP soon, says Moily

The petroleum ministry is keen to soon hold the next round of New Exploration Licensing Policy as it has crossed most of the hurdles that came up in the previous rounds of the hydrocarbon block auctions, Petroleum Minister M. Veerappa Moily said on Thursday.

Asked if the next round of NELP was likely to happen soon, Moily said, "We would like to...having learnt some lessons from the past from all these 1-9 rounds, we want it to be a perfect round without obstructions whatsoever, without any obstructions."

The government concluded allocation of the last of the three blocks bid for in the ninth round of NELP only in January.

Of the 34 blocks offered in the ninth round in Mar 2011- including eight deepwater blocks, seven shallow water blocks and 19 onland blocks- 33 received 74 bids from 37 companies. One block located in offshore Mumbai did not receive any bid.   

The ministry recently invited comments from stakeholders on a proposed uniform licensing policy that moots replacing NELP and Coal Bed Methane Policy with a single uniform licence for future contracts. "The uniform licence will enable the contractor to explore conventional and unconventional oil and gas resources such as shale gas/oil, tight gas, gas  hydrates and any other resource to be identified in future which is fit for commercial exploitation, simultaneously under the overall contractual regime  applicable from time to time," the ministry said.

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