Cairn Energy, Premier Oil, Reliance Industries Ltd., Indian Oil Corp., Oil & Natural Gas Corp. and Gas Authority of India Ltd., are six of the larger oil companies that submitted bids in India's third licensing round according to Oil Minister Ram Naik. The companies were bidding on 27 blocks both on and offshore India. As many as 18 of the 27 blocks that were on offer attracted more than one bid, while four didn't get any bids at all, Naik said without identifying the blocks. Winners will be announced in 10 weeks and the contracts signed in 18 weeks.
More than a third of India's 1.2 million square miles of sedimentary basin area where oil might be found is unexplored, according to the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons. India's crude oil output in 2001 stood at 32 million tons, compared with demand of 96 million tons. Demand may rise to 368 million tons by 2025, while production will probably only reach 60 million tons, the government estimates.