India Govt May Award Oil, Gas Blocks by November 15

NEW DELHI Sep 15, 2006 (Dow Jones Newswires)

The Indian government may award the new oil and gas exploration blocks to successful bidders in November, Anil Razdan, additional secretary in the Petroleum Ministry, said Friday.

"The evaluation of the bids will now be undertaken by the government and the blocks are expected to be awarded by Nov. 15," Razdan said at a news conference.

The production-sharing contracts with the successful bidders are likely to be signed by January 2007, he added.

Earlier Friday, India received 165 bids from domestic and overseas companies for its largest-ever offering of oil and natural gas blocks, indicating the global interest in India's upstream sector.

Of the 55 blocks offered, bids were received for 52 blocks, Director General of Hydrocarbons V.K. Sibal said.

As many as 62 companies put in bids, of which 32 are overseas companies. The companies have bid either by themselves, or in a consortium, Sibal said.

Copyright (c) 2006 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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