India launches its biggest auction of oil and gas blocks
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  • India launched its biggest auction of oil and gas blocks on April 9 at a time when global players were cutting down on exploration and production budgets because of recession. Petroleum secretary R.S. Pandey, at the launch of the eighth round of the new exploration and licensing policy (NELP-VIII), stated that “the most effective antidote (to the recession) is the generation of economic activity.”

    Mr. Pandey however clarified that the government might not allocate any block if it received a poor response but added that if the response was good, “we will offer another 30-40 blocks in the next phase.” A total of 70 blocks were on offer, which included 24 deep-water, 28 shallow-water and 18 land-based blocks spread throughout the country. For the first time, the government was also offering blocks in the western Andaman region, close to the hydrocarbon-rich areas of Indonesia and Myanmar1.