India will likely begin auctioning its major oil and gas blocks early next year under its fresh Hydrocarbon Exploration Licensing Policy (HELP) that heralds a major shift from the previous policy by bringing in revenuesharing between companies and the government, offering companies the option to carve out blocks, and the freedom to market gas.
“We are currently working on the procedures and the methodologies to help operationalise the new policy. This should be ready by early next year, which is when we will allow companies to bid under this,” said an oil ministry official, who didn’t want to be named. In March, the government notified the new hydrocarbon policy, replacing the NELP, or New Exploration Licensing Policy that guided Indian hydrocarbon space for more than a decade. Some of the key changes the new policy introduced include just one license for extraction of all forms of hydrocarbons, freedom to market gas, and a revenue-sharing system that puts an end to micromanagement by bureaucrats and the accompanying acrimony between the government and the contractor.