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Australia’s Santos to relinquish offshore oil and gas blocks in India

13th December 2013

Santos to surrender offshore oil and gas blocks in India due to delays in procuring necessary approvals

Offshore oil and gas drilling block
Santos intends to surrender offshore oil and gas blocks on the east coast of India

Australia’s Santos intends to relinquish its two offshore oil and gas blocks on the east coast of India, Business Standard reported.


India had awarded the blocks NEC-DWN-2004/1 and NEC-DWN-2004/2 in Bay of Bengal to Santos in February 2007. However, the Australian oil and gas company has not been able to initiate exploration at the blocks due to pending defence approvals and maritime boundary dispute between India and Bangladesh.


“Santos had met us and said that they would like to exit. That's because there is some problem due to the Bangladesh water dispute. They are under international arbitration for a long time,” the news report quoted petroleum secretary, Vivek Rae, as saying.


The news follows BHP Billiton’s announcement in October to surrender nine oil exploration blocks after failing to receive necessary clearances from the Indian government. Aranane Giridhar, joint secretary at petroleum ministry, said: "BHP left country not because of the oil ministry. It left because of sacrosanct defence establishments that have to be protected. Santos left because of maritime dispute with Bangladesh."


The Indian government recently announced to auction 86 oil and gas exploration blocks under the tenth round of the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP). The auction will also aim to retain and attract the interest of international oil companies.


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