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Oil Majors Stay Out Of India’s Small Fields Bidding Round

Global oil and gas giants such as BP, ExxonMobil and Chevron, as well as major Indian companies ONGC and Reliance Industries, have not submitted offers in India’s tender for developing small fields as the deadline for filing bids expired on Monday.

According to data by the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, 34 out of a total 46 areas up for grabs received bids by the time the Discovered Small Fields (DSF) Bid Round 2016 was closed today. As many as 26 bids were received for onshore small fields and another eight for offshore development. A total of 32 private Indian companies have submitted offers, plus five foreign firms, non of which included BP, Exxon or Chevron.

As it is trying to reduce oil imports by 10 percent by 2022 and develop more of its resources, India was offering 46 contract areas containing a total of 67 oil and gas fields, which are estimated to hold over 625 million barrels of oil and oil equivalent gas (O+OEG) in place, according to the Discovered Small Fields Bid Round information website.

In early October, media reported that India’s biggest E&Ps – ONGC and Oil India – had decided to pass on the tenders to give way to smaller companies. If the fields are developed, India would be able reduce its spending on imported crude by about US$525 million annually, according to Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

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India’s The Economic Times reported yesterday that Exxon, Chevron, BP and Reliance Industries would likely bid on the tenders.

Now that the bidders are known, the government of India will proceed with the evaluation and wants to award the contract areas as soon as possible in order to start monetizing oil and gas production from these fields, the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas said.

India expects this year’s demand for crude oil in the country to rise by more than last year’s 11-percent, Pradhan said in September.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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