India launched its first oil and gas bidding round through its new Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) on Saturday. Market participants expect the new rules to provide a boost to exploration activity.
The OALP enables oil and gas companies to select exploration blocks on their own rather than wait for their preferred areas to be released. This is made possible by a national database of unexplored sedimentary basins in the country that has also been introduced alongside the OALP.
The latest round is the first major oil and gas auction conducted under the new Hydrocarbon Exploration Licensing Policy (HELP). The government carried out a pilot round last year by holding an auction for marginal fields held by state-owned majors Oil and Natural Gas Corp. and Oil India Ltd. that were deemed too small to have any commercial value.