ONGC Comes Out on Top in NELP-VIII Bid Round

In the just concluded NELP-VIII bid round for which the bids closed on October 12, 2009, ONGC has again turned out to be the largest winner as per the provisional results declared.

ONGC, in partnership with certain consortia members, submitted bids for 25 oil and gas exploration blocks and won 17 blocks.

In respect of the deepwater blocks, ONGC had submitted 7 bids and have won all of them. Of these 7 blocks, one block is located in KG offshore and rest are in Andaman offshore. ONGC is the Operator in 6 blocks and a consortium partner in 1 block in KG-Offshore where M/s British Gas is the Operator. In another block, ONGC is a joint operator with M/s. Oil India Ltd. Our consortia partners in these blocks are M/s British Gas (BG), Oil India Ltd. (OIL), Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (GSPC), Gas Authority India Ltd. (GAIL), National Thermal Power Corporation Ltd. (NTPC) and Andhra Pradesh Gas Infrastructure Corporation (APGIC).

In the shallow waters, ONGC submitted 7 bids and won 6 out of them, in offshore areas of Kutch, Cauvery and Krishna-Godavari. M/s OIL is the Operator for the Cauvery Block, while in the other 5 blocks ONGC is the Operator. Our consortia partners are M/s. Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. (IOC), OIL, GSPC, NTPC, APGIC and M/s. Adani Welspun Exploration Ltd. (AWEL).

For the onland blocks, ONGC had submitted bid for 11 blocks and won 4 blocks; 3 as Operator and 1 as consortia member where M/s OIL is the Operator. Our consortia partners are M/s. OIL and GSPC.

ONGC had also submitted bids for 3 CBM blocks offered under the CBM-IV round but none of the blocks were awarded to ONGC.

Commenting on the outcome of this bid round, Mr. R.S. Sharma, CMD, ONGC, observed that the overall response to the bid round has been on expected lines. Primarily, lack of investor interest for exploration across the world has been the reason for lower number of bids. Also, the lack of clarity on the likely gas price implementation and the taxation regime could have contributed to the below par response to the bidding round.

As regards the results relating to the blocks won by ONGC, Mr. Sharma expressed absolute satisfaction. "Strategically, we had targeted to win high risk- high return blocks and also the virgin areas in the exploration frontiers, especially in the deepwaters," Mr. Sharma commented. "The results are in absolute conformity with our bidding strategy."

It is noteworthy that in the earlier seven rounds, ONGC has won almost 50% of the awarded blocks. Keeping with the trend, in the NELP-VIII bid round also, ONGC has won 17 out of the 36 blocks for which results have been provisionally declared on October 12, 2009.