Still No Decision on Last Location for NELP-V Roadshow

Government cost cutting might force the oil ministry to restrict overseas roadshows for the next round of the New Exploration Licensing Policy to just three locations: London, Calgary and Houston.

"We're still waiting for a final decision," reveals a source. "If we have a roadshow in a fourth location the choice would be between Singapore, Perth or Dubai." Until then all that's certain is that Delhi will see the first roadshow during the three-day oil ministry sponsored Petrotech conference that begins on January 15th 2005.

Current ministry plans are to begin the overseas roadshows after Petrotech at the end of January to coincide with the end of the Christmas and New Year holidays in Europe and America.

NELP-V should have been launched in April or May this year but was delayed because of general elections and the arrival of a new government.

"The new government wanted to look at the blocks before their inclusion," we are told. "The DGH had to prepare data packages for blocks included by the new government."

Oil minister Mani Shankar Aiyar is expected to officially launch NELP-V in the last week of December. Twenty-one blocks, including four deepsea and two shallow water blocks, will be offered. Potential bidders can expect to see more onland blocks than offshore blocks compared to previous NELP rounds.

Another reason for the delay in launching NELP-V was late clearance from the environment ministry for the blocks. DGH sources believe Reliance and Cairn Energy have done much to boost international perception of Indian basins. "The Krishna Godavari gas discovery by Reliance is the best thing to happen to India," he says. "Our image in oil circles as a prospective country also improved after Cairn's discoveries in Rajasthan."

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