The Indian economy is a net importer of almost all forms of energy.
This fact, coupled with the growing energy needs, has intensified discussions on
energy security for the country. The government is actively seeking private participation
in the energy chain and is also promoting acquisition of oil & gas reserves overseas.
Back home, the rapidly growing Indian economy requires huge investment in the energy
sector. Strong private sector participation is required to suplement public sector
and bring in the required investment and technologies. Policies have increasingly
recognized the need to promote private investment. Private interest in oil & gas
exploration and power sector has increased significantly Government is making efforts
to diversify the fuel basket by increasing share of Natural Gas, Hydro and Nuclear
energy. At the same time, both the Government and private sector companies are looking
to acquire equity in energy assets abroad.
To increase upstream investments, the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas formulated
New Exploration licensing Policy (NELP) in 1999 providing level playing field for
all the investors and providing several concessions and incentives to attract investment
and technology. Under the policy blocks for exploration are awarded through global
competitive bidding process which is most transparent. So far seven bidding rounds
have been held resulting in award of 203 blocks.
Eighth round of bidding got concluded in 2009 along with fourth round for Coal Bed Methane blocks.
Government of India offered the highest ever number of 70 oil & gas exploration blocks covering an
area of about 1,63,535 Sq. Km. and also making a simultaneous offer of 10 blocks under the fourth
round of Coal Bed Methane Policy (CBM-IV) for exploration and production of Coal Bed Methane.
The blocks offered under CBM-IV cover an area of about 5000 Sq.Km. and are spread over seven States.
32 Blocks under NELP VIII and 7 blocks under CBM IV got signed recently in New Delhi.
Government of India has launched the Ninth round of offer for Exploration acreages,
NELP IX on 15th October 2010 against a backdrop of continued exploration success.