Tuesday, November 26, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

ONGC gets 13 gas blocks
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 25
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) today approved award of 23 oil and gas blocks, including 13 to the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation and nine to Reliance Industries from the third offering under the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP).

The government also approved the construction of the second and third phases of the 164-km Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramula rail line in Jammu and Kashmir.

An official spokesman said after the three-hour CCEA meeting, which was chaired by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, that the project, whose first phase covering 30 km was being constructed, would be completed by August 15, 2007. In the second phase, Konkan Railway Corporation Limited would lay the rail line from 30km to 120 km and IRCON would complete the remaining portion of the track.

Petroleum Minister Ram Naik is understood to have informed the CCEA meeting that the minimum committed investment in the first exploratory phase would be around $ 415 million.

Official sources said Reliance Industries, in consortium with Hardy Oil of the UK, was awarded nine blocks, including seven of the nine prime deep water blocks on offer. The ONGC on its own won nine blocks. It got three blocks in consortium with Oil India Ltd and one block in joint venture with the Indian Oil Corporation.

The Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC), in consortium with Geo Global Resources (India) Ltd and Jubiliant Enpro India Ltd, was the third successful company, bagging the some offshore blocks in the Krishna-Godavari basin.

With this the government has awarded in all 70 blocks in three rounds of the NELP as against 22 blocks awarded in the past 10 years.

Sources said of the $ 1.1 billion investment committed under the NELP-I, $ 423 million had already been invested while of the $ 775 million committed in the NELP-II, $ 111 million had been invested in exploration.

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