India has signed contracts for ten oil and gas exploration blocks offered under the recent OALP-VIII bid round. 

Government-owned ONGC emerged as the dominant player in the OALP-VIII bid round, securing seven out of ten blocks, reported PTI via the Economic Times.  

The round, which concluded in July 2023, saw a consortium of Reliance Industries and BP, along with Oil India and Sun Petrochemicals, each winning one block.  

As per the official announcement, the committed exploration work programme across the awarded blocks, comprising an area of 34,364km², is expected to attract investments of around $233m (Rs19.4bn). 

The ten blocks span nine sedimentary basins and included a mix of onland, shallow water, deep-water and ultra-deep-water blocks.  

In a parallel development, three coal-bed methane (CBM) blocks were also awarded, and the ninth OALP bid round (OALP-IX) was launched.  

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By GlobalData

The special CBM round-2022 offered 16 blocks over seven states, covering 5,817km².  

Out of these, six bids were received for three blocks spanning 717 km², which were awarded to two companies.  

The CBM blocks are expected to see investments of approximately $7.4m for the committed exploration work programme. 

Under the OALP-IX bid round, the government has put 28 blocks up for grabs, covering an expansive area of approximately 136,596 km². 

According to India’s Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Hardeep Singh Puri, the signing for OALP-VIII and special CBM round-2022, and the launch of the OALP-IX bid round, is a crucial step in ensuring India’s energy security. 

He added that only 10% of the Indian Sedimentary Basin Area is currently being actively explored, but with government initiatives, more area will be brought under exploration. 

By the end of 2024, it is anticipated that, after blocks are awarded under the upcoming OALP-IX and X bid rounds, approximately 5,60,000km² (16%) will be explored.