Half of Indian Blocks Left on Shelf at Latest Auction

12 October 2009 (Last Updated October 12th, 2009 18:30)

In the latest auction of Indian exploration blocks nearly half of the sites offered failed to attract a bidder as the economic downturn put off investors. The eighth auction round of exploration blocks by India saw bids for 36 of the 70 blocks offered, as the economic slump, valuations

In the latest auction of Indian exploration blocks nearly half of the sites offered failed to attract a bidder as the economic downturn put off investors.

The eighth auction round of exploration blocks by India saw bids for 36 of the 70 blocks offered, as the economic slump, valuations and a corporate battle over the sale of natural gas from Reliance Industries' field made investors cautious, Reuters reported.

The provisional winners announced in the latest round include BHP Billiton, Cairn India and ONGC.

BHP Billiton has won three shallow-water blocks in the Mumbai basin, off India's west coast.

Cairn India, a unit of Cairn Energy, is also the provisional winner for a deepwater block in the Mumbai basin.

ONGC and its partners were the provisional winners of seven deepwater blocks, the news service said.

In the previous seven auction rounds, the country awarded 203 oil and gas blocks, with 181 bids submitted for 45 blocks in 2008.