Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas
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Open Acreage Licensing Policy Bid Round-IX launched

Contracts signed for 3 Coal Bed Methane Blocks awarded under Special CBM Bid Round- 2022

Contracts also signed for 10 blocks awarded under OALP Bid Round-VIII

Posted On: 03 JAN 2024 6:06PM by PIB Delhi

Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG) today signed contracts for 10 blocks awarded under Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) Bid Round-VIII and 3 Coal Bed Methane (CBM) Blocks awarded under Special CBM Bid Round-SCBM 2022. The Contracts were signed in the presence of the Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Housing and Urban Affairs, Shri Hardeep Singh Puri. Secretary, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Shri Pankaj Jain, and Director General, Directorate General of Hydrocarbons, Dr. Pallavi Jain Govil, also attended the event.

OALP-IX Bid Round was also launched at the event. In this bid round, 28 blocks, with an area of approximately 1,36,596 Sq. Km., are on offer for bidding.

Addressing the event, Shri Puri said that today’s signing ceremony for OALP-VIII & SCBM-2022 and Launch of OALP-IX Bid Round is a crucial step in ensuring India’s energy security.He mentioned that vast offshore acreage of more than 1 Million Sq. Km. has been made available in recent past for E&P operations which were earlier so called ‘No-Go’ areas. He said that currently only 10% of Indian Sedimentary Basin Area is under active exploration, however, with the initiatives of Government, more areas will come under exploration and it is estimated that after award of blocks under forthcoming OALP-IX and X Bid Rounds, about 5,60,000 Sq. Km. area  (16%)  will come under exploration by end of year 2024.

Secretary, MoPNG, Shri Pankaj Jain, highlighted the importance of the signing of contracts for awarding blocks under OALP and launch of OALP-IX Bid Round. He said that the size of bidding round IX is expected to be much bigger.

Speaking at the event, DG, DGH, Dr. Pallavi Jain Govil said that OALP -IX Bid Round bears a special significance as many of the offshore blocks on offer are in hydrocarbon rich basin areas which were earlier out of bound for E & P activities due to restrictions posed by different agencies.

Under OALP VIII Bid Round, total 10 blocks were offered for bidding comprising an area of 34,364 Sq. Km., spread across 9 Sedimentary Basins and included 2 Onland blocks (both in Category-I Basin), 4 Shallow Water blocks (1 in Category-I and 3 in Category II/III Basins), 2 Deep Water blocks (both in Category II/III Basins) and 2 Ultra Deep-Water blocks (1 in Category-I and 1 in Category-II Basin). Total 13 bids were received for all 10 blocks. These 10 blocks were awarded to 4 Companies. The estimated investments in awarded blocks for committed exploration work programme is about USD 233 Million.

Under Special CBM Round-2022, total 16 CBM blocks were offered for bidding which spread across 7 States covering an area of 5817 Sq. Km. Total 6 bids were received for 3 blocks with an area of 717 Sq. Km. These 3 blocks were awarded to 2 Companies. Estimated investments in awarded blocks for committed exploration work programme is to the tune of USD 7.4 Million. 

As a major reform in E&P sector, the Hydrocarbon Exploration & Licensing Policy (HELP) was approved in March 2016. In continuation to its determination for reduction in import dependency of oil and gas and accelerating E&P activities, Government notified further policy reforms in upstream sector in February 2019 and again in May 2023 with a focus to shift from ‘revenue’ to ‘production’ maximization. There is also continued focus on greater transparency and streamlined procedures.

The first seven OALP Bid Rounds led to an award of 134 blocks, covering an area of about 2,07,691 Sq. Km. to leading E&P companies. Now, with the award of 10 more blocks under Round-VIII, a total of 144 exploratory blocks have been awarded under HELP regime covering an area of 2,42,055 Sq. Km.

Several initiatives have been taken by the Government for making available good quality data of Indian Sedimentary Basins to investors, such as National Seismic Programme (NSP) in Onshore areas, EEZ Survey in Offshore areas, opening of Andaman Basin, upgradation of NDR, etc. Other initiatives planned are Mission Anveshan Project (Part II of NSP), Continental Shelf Survey, drilling of Stratigraphic Wells and Hydrocarbon Resource Reassessment Study. A Data Centre has been opened within the campus of University of Houston for ease of data viewing by foreign companies. Several International Oil Companies (IOCs) (ExxonMobil, Shell, Total Energies, ENI, Chevron, POSCO, JAPEX, Murphy Oil, EOG etc.) have visited this Data Room/Presentations and shown interests in Indian Basins.

Investors outreach program has also been aggressively taken up through organizing Investors Meet at prominent global locations and International Conferences. Several IOCs have visited NDR and purchased large volume of E&P Data for analysis. 

Significant steps have been taken by the Government towards improving the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ in the Indian Exploration and Production (E&P) sector. All approvals and clearances are through online systems for faster approval. A dispute resolution mechanism to resolve various contractual matters has been put in place through a Committee of Eminent External Experts which has resolved many old disputes through mediation.

Details of Blocks awarded under OALP-VIII and CBMS-2022 are available at DGH Website: []

Launch of Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) Bid Round-IX


  • In continuation to its aggressive acceleration of E&P activities and adhering to the prescribed timelines, the Government has now launched OALP Bid Round-IX for International Competitive Bidding on 3rd January 2024. In this bid round, 28 blocks, with an area of approximately 1,36,596 Sq. Km., are on offer for bidding. Out of these, 23 blocks are based on Expression of Interests (EoIs) received from Companies during April 2022 to March 2023 and 5 blocks have been carved out by DGH.
  • 28 blocks under the present bid round are spread across 8 Sedimentary Basins and include 9 onland blocks, 8 shallow water blocks and 11 Ultra-Deep-water blocks.
  • With the release of Notice Inviting Offer (NIO), bidders can study the data available in National Data Repository (NDR) and select blocks for bidding. The bidders would be able to submit their bids through an online e-bidding portal commencing 12:00 hrs on 3rd January, 2024 and the bids can be submitted till 1200 hrs. on 29th February, 2024.


Details of Blocks on offer under OALP-IX are available at DGH Website: []



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