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E&P Business and Regulatory Policy in India

M. K. Sinha
Geology, ONGC, Sivasagar, India

The two NOCs, ONGC & OIL dominated the E&P industry in the country during the post-independent era, but the Government kept live the idea of importing / attracting the foreign E&P companies and the technologies in the country by modifying the policies from time to time. As far back as 1953-60, and subsequently, during 1974-75, several foreign E&P Companies like Standard Vacuum Oil Company, Reading & Bates, Natomas-Carlsberg and Asamera companies did some exploration work in the Bengal, Kutch and Cauvery Basin, but without success.

Subsequently, a specific policy of Exploration Rounds was introduced in the country. Under these Pre-NELP rounds, almost 380 blocks were offered but hardly 34 contracts could be signed from 1980 upto 1995. But significantly, these rounds marked the entrance of Private Indian as well as foreign E&P companies like RIL, GSPC, HOEC, Essar, BG, Shell, Cairn, Tullow, etc in the business for the first time.

With the entry of private companies in the business, DGH came into existence as regulatory authority in the year 1993. Introduction of New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) in 1997 marked a new era in Indian E&P business with the introduction of some very competitive package, liberal conditions and a level playing field for private and the National Oil Companies. Companies came out with aggressive exploration programmes to win the licenses. Country saw a surge in inducting new technology, global knowledge and better E&P practices resulting in some big hydrocarbon discoveries. With new companies in, also came along with, the poaching of experienced man power. Now the strategies are being formulated to counter the virus of attrition.

With the grand success of NELP rounds, the idea of introducing the Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) is getting strong ground. Government is working hard to establish a National Data Repository (NDR) to facilitate the Open Acreage system.

Presentation GEO India Expo XXI, Noida, New Delhi, India 2008©AAPG Search and Discovery