Cabinet clears boost to Ease of Doing Business in PNG sector

NEW DELHI, Apr 11: In a bid to boost ease of doing business, the Union Cabinet has approved delegating  the powers to Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Finance Minister to award blocks/contract areas  to successful bidders under the Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP) after International Competitive Bidding (ICB) to twice a year.
This delegation of powers will expedite the decision-making process on awarding blocks besides help in the ease of doing business, an official release here said.
Under the New Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy, the competitive bidding will be continuous and  blocks will be awarded twice a year.
ECS will consider the Bid Evaluation Criteria (BEC), conduct negotiations with bidders wherever necessary  and make recommendations to CCEA on award of blocks. The CCEA approves the award of blocks.
Since  the entire process, including inter-ministerial consultations (IMC), is lengthy and time consuming, the  Government’s initiative of ‘Ease of Doing Business’ is aimed at shortening the duration of time taken in award of the blocks/contract areas.
The meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, cleared the proposal based on the recommendations  of Empowered Committee of Secretaries (ECS).
The Government received an overwhelming response in first Expression of Interest (Eol) cycle of OALP which  opened on July 1, 2017 and closed on November 15, 2017. In the first bid round, 55 blocks, having an area  of 59282 spread across 11 states were offered for bidding.
The bidding process is being handled  through a secured and dedicated e-bidding portal.
The Union Government in a paradigm shift launched the new policy regime for Exploration & Production  (E&P) sector, namely Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP), in 2016. The new policy regime  includes revenue sharing contract, a single licence for exploration and production of conventional as well  as unconventional hydrocarbon resources, marketing and pricing freedom.
Open Acreage Licencing Policy  (OALP) under HELP, is a major innovative feature wherein the investor can carve out blocks of their own  interest and submit an Expression of Interest (Eol) throughout the year. Based on the areas for which Eol has  been expressed bidding will be conducted every six months.


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