India clears bids for 44 hydrocarbon exploration blocks

November 20th, 2008 - 4:22 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 20 (IANS) India Thursday approved a set of 44 hydrocarbon blocks to be awarded to bidders in the latest round of auction, with contracts to share production with state-run oil companies expected to be signed within a month.The approval for the award of contracts under the seventh round of what is called the new exploration licensing policy (NELP) was given during the meeting of the cabinet committee on economic affairs, presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here.

“The total investment for Phase-I of exploration for these 44 blocks is about $1.5 billion,” Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Prithviraj Chavan told reporters after the meeting.

“It is expected that the award of blocks under NELP-VII will result in more discoveries and further investments in the development of oil fields, leading to higher reserves accretion and eventually, production of oil and gas,” Chavan added.

The meeting also decided that in view of a very low score for a Mumbai basin deepwater block, the sole bidder should be denied a contract as it would be detrimental to the government’s interests in terms of future profits.

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