The oil ministry hopes to receive CCEA approval for its proposal to auction 86 oil and gas blocks by February 15.
“We have launched the project…Of the 86 oil and gas blocks which will be offered for bidding, 46 blocks have obtained clearance in all respects,” petroleum and natural gas minister M Veerappa Moily said. He said there had been problems earlier in getting bidders for some blocks because requisite clearances were not in place. “Some projects where the necessary clearances were not in place were put out for bidding. Thereafter, we got into problems and ultimately the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) had to take up and majority of them were cleared,” Moily said.
The minister said he is hopeful that this time, CCEA approval will come by February 15 and road shows will start after that. The CCEA will also consider whether to continue with the current production sharing framework, which allows block operators to recover costs before sharing profits with the government.
The Vijay Kelkar Committee has favoured the current production sharing regime for high-risk deep sea oil and gas exploration. On the other hand, a panel headed by Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council Chairman C Rangarajan last year proposed a revenue-sharing model for awarding future oil and gas block contracts.