India May Announce Oil, Gas E&P License Winners Next Week

NEW DELHI Jan 19, 2007 (Dow Jones Commodities News)

India is likely to announce winning bidders for its sixth and latest round of oil and gas exploration and production rights next week, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Murli Deora said Friday.

"We are preparing a cabinet note. We hope to announce it next week," Deora told reporters on the sidelines of the Petro-Tech 2007 International Oil and Gas Conference.

Under the country's constitution, the federal cabinet has the final say in the award of petroleum exploration rights.

India received 165 bids for 52 of the 55 blocks in the sixth round of bidding under New Exploration Licensing Policy, which closed in September.

India's state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp. (500312.BY), Oil India Ltd. (OIL.YY) and NTPC Ltd. (532555.BY) are vying for exploration rights either alone or through forming consortiums with other companies.

Foreign oil giants BP PLC (BP), Malaysia's Petroliam Nasional Bhd. (PET.YY), or Petronas, BG Group PLC (BRG) and Cairn Energy PLC (CNE.LN) are among the foreign companies that have submitted bids.

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