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State-run firms to dominate Indian exploration

29th March 2012

Indian’s ninth bidding round to exploration rights sees Indian companies take lions share of rights

India is the world's fourth largest oil importer

Rights to almost half of the 16 oil blocks available for exploration in India have been awarded to state-owned local companies, a government statement showed this week.

The cabinet published a statement on 23 March announcing the 16 blocks but the full details were only revealed this week. India’s ninth exploration licensing round followed trends seen in previous rounds which saw available blocks monopolised by state-run firms.

Oil and Natural Gas Corp won operating rights for four; a consortium led by Oil India won two blocks and Gail India Ltd led a consortium that was awarded one onshore block in the Cambay basin, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

Other companies awarded blocks were Sankalp Oil and Natural Resources, which won three, while one block each was won by Focus Energy, Pratibha Oil and Natural Gas Pvt Ltd, and Pan India Consultants & Frost International Ltd.

Deep Energy, a US based subsidiary of Deep Industries, in a consortium with other companies received operatorship of three onshore blocks.

India has so far failed to woo global players in its oil and gas exploration licensing rounds due to its poor track record of commercial discoveries and slow administrative process.

The country is currently producing around 763,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil, mostly from fields awarded decades ago - less than a quarter of its 3.878m bpd refining capacity.

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