Indian Government Invites Bids for NELP-IV

The Indian government will invite bids for over two dozen oil and gas blocks under the fourth round of New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) in March-April 2003. "We have awarded 47 oil and gas blocks under the first two rounds of NELP and another 23 blocks, bids for which have already been received, and will be awarded in a month's time," Petroleum Minister Ram Naik said.

Naik said that the government will also come out with the second round of bidding for the Coal Bed Methane (CBM) blocks early next year.

Under the first round of CBM, the government signed contracts for six CBM blocks in West Bengal, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh and contracts for two more blocks are expected to be signed soon.

"This (NELP bidding for oil and gas and CBM blocks) is part of a multi-pronged strategy to enhance the oil and gas security of the country," Naik said.

Towards this objective, ONGC has undertaken 19 projects to increase oil and gas recovery from their existing major fields including redevelopment of the Mumbai High field at an investment of about Rs 8,000 crore.

"Oil production from Mumbai High oil fields has increased by 9 percent (worth Rs 1000 crore) and gas production by 4 percent (worth Rs 400 crore) during the current year," Naik said.