Cos with China, Pak investment not barred from NELP: Govt

"We have no such information," Petroleum Secretary S Sundareshan told reporters today, when asked about a news item which said that the government has barred such companies from participating in NELP-IX, following a request from the Defence Ministry.

The report claimed that the Ministry of Defence in a letter to the Oil Ministry has said that joint venture participation by companies from China, Pakistan and Bangladesh, either directly or proxy, will not be accepted.
So far, no company having partners from China, Pakistan and Bangladesh, has won any blocks under the NELP rounds.

Last week Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had also expressed concern over such foreign participation and had said that India would have to take adequate precautions with regard to China.

About 80 discoveries have been reported from the 237 exploration blocks awarded so far in the eight rounds of NELP, which had attracted investment commitments of over USD 10 billion till January 2010. This includes largest gas find of India in Krishna-Godavari basin by the Reliance Industries in 2002.

The ninth round is expected to be launched in October. However, decisions on date and numbers of oil blocks to be offered in the ninth round, is yet to be taken by the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons -- the nodal agency to implement the exploration activities, official sources said.

The eighth round of NELP, in which 70 blocks were offered, had elicited poor response from investors as it received bids for 36 blocks only.
On the issue of deregulation of diesel, Sundareshan said that the government will take a view, closer to the date of follow on public offer of Indian Oil and ONGC.

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