India extends OALP-8 bid deadline
The Indian government has extended the bid closing date for Open Acreage Licensing Programme (OALP) bid round-8 till July 5, 2023, it said on June 5. This is yet another extension that had an original bid submission deadline of September 6, 2022. The government did not give any reason for the extension.
The bid round, which was announced last year, offers 10 oil and gas blocks for international competitive bidding, and interested parties can now submit their bids through a dedicated online e-bidding portal. Award of OALP round-8 blocks will further add 34,364.53 km2 of acreage and take the cumulative exploration acreage under OALP to 242,055 km2, the government said.
The Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP), introduced in March 2016, has paved the way for seven successful rounds of OALP, resulting in the allocation of 134 E&P blocks spread across 19 sedimentary basins, covering an area of 2,07,691 km2, the government added.
Recognising the need to expedite E&P activities and attract fresh investments in the sector, the government of India has implemented changes to the contractual framework and incentive structure. Some key reforms include increased upper limits for self-carving of acreage, simplified modalities for carving out open acreage blocks, flexibility in drilling commitment, modifications in operatorship experience for deep/ultra-deep-water blocks, and improved bidding parameters evaluation criteria, among others.
These changes aim to create a more conducive environment for E&P activities, enhance the ease of doing business, and promote investments in the sector, the government said.