Vedanta, ONGC top bidders in oil block auction shunned by private majors

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 03 May 2018 12:39:01



MINING moghul Anil Agarwal’s Vedanta Ltd and State-owned ONGC were top bidders on Wednesday for 55 oil and gas blocks offered in India’s maiden open acreage auction that was shunned by domestic private and international energy majors.Vedanta bid for all the 55 blocks while ONGC bid for 37 blocks either on its own or in consortium with other state-owned firms. State-owned Oil India Ltd (OIL) bid for 22 blocks in a similar fashion.Vedanta was the sole bidder for two blocks and had either ONGC or OIL as direct competitor in the remaining.

Except for the two blocks that received three bids each, all the other 53 had just two bidders. Reliance Industries and its partner BP Plc did not bid for a single area. Essar Oil and Russia’s Rosneft-backed Nayara Energy also abstained from the round.No foreign company participated in the auction, a first since India began offering oil and gas area for exploration and production through bids in 1999.Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had touted the maiden auction under the Open Acreage Licensing Polict (OALP) as a game changer

DGH said a total of 110 bids were received from a total of nine companies - five State-run and four private firms. Besides Vedanta’s oil unit, Cairn India, other private players bidding included Selan Exploration, HOEC and Sun Petro.Bidding in the auction of 55 exploration blocks on offer for prospecting of oil and gas under the OALP closed today.
Sources said Cairn put in very aggressive bids for 13 blocks and a little less aggressive bids for another nine.