The Centre on Wednesday set the ball rolling to operationalise the much-awaited discovered small fields (DSFs) as the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved awarding 31 contract areas which will complement the country's domestic fuel production and help in achieving energy security.
Of the fields on offer, all the 26 onland areas had received bids, although 9 had only single bidders.
Some of the winners include Bharat PetroResources, Indian Oil Corporation, Sun Petrochemicals, Adani Welspun Exploration, Hindustan Oil Exploration Company, South Asia Consultancy and Nippon Power.
The government had received 134 bids from as many as 42 companies in the auction round that closed November 21, after rules were relaxed allowing pricing freedom for oil and gas and uniform policy for all kinds of hydrocarbons. Out of these, 67 discovered small fields were clubbed into 46 contract areas and put on offer through online worldwide competitive bidding.
Other fields were awarded to smaller and lesser known companies. Larger established companies like Reliance Industries Ltd. and ONGC stayed away from the auctions.
Monetisation of discovered fields which were with the public sector oil explorers ONGC and Oil India Ltd has been a challenge because of unviable fiscal regime.
The Cabinet had in September 2015 approved the auction of 69 of such small and marginal fields.
"It is expected that in-place locked hydrocarbons volume of 40 million metric tonnes of oil and 22 billion cubic metres of gas will be monetised over a period of 15 years", the statement added.
The bids closed on September 21 previous year with a total of 47 companies submitting their applications.
The DSF bid round envisages a revenue-sharing model, with pricing and marketing freedom to the contractors.