235 blocks awarded in ten years under NELP
During the period 2000-2010, a total of 235 exploration blocks were awarded under eight rounds of NELP. Out of these, 135 blocks were awarded to national / State Oil companies and 100 blocks to private and foreign companies as Operators. Exploration activities have so far been initiated / carried out in 1276 blocks by national / State Oil Companies and in 96 blocks by private / foreign companies. In addition, two public sector companies, Oil & Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. (ONGC) and Oil India Ltd. (OIL) are also operating blocks awarded on nomination basis. This information was given by the Minister of State for Petroleum & Natural Gas Shri RPN Singh in the Parliament recently.
Under the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP), exploration blocks are awarded through International Competitive Bidding, where National / State oil companies as well as private and foreign companies can bid on equal terms and conditions. Given the large investment required in the effort to step up production and reserve accretion in the country, a need was felt to focus on a strategy designed to accelerate the pace of exploration by involving both public and private sector companies.