India offers 23 oil blocks in OALP-III bid round

India offered 23 oil and gas and coal-bed methane blocks for bidding in the third round of Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OLAP) as it looks to more than double the area under exploration to raise domestic output and cut imports.

Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan launched the OALP-III bid round at the Petrotech 2019 conference in Greater Noida on the outskirts of Delhi.

"In OALP-III, 23 blocks in 12 sedimentary basins are being offered. Of these, five are coal-bed methane (CBM) blocks. Total area on offer is about 31,000 square kilometers," he said.

Last date for bidding is April 10.

OALP-III will run concurrently with OALP-II, where 14 blocks covering an area of close to 30,000 sq km is on offer for bidding, he said, adding in OALP-I, 55 blocks covering an area of 60,000 sq km were awarded in October last year.

"In one year, we have added about 1.2 lakh sq km of area to exploration kitty. This compares to 90,000 sq km area under exploration previously," he said, adding the area under exploration will double by the time the round ends.

"Our effort is to accelerate exploration of all sedimentary basins of the country," he said.