Cabinet clears revenue-sharing for auction of 69 oil, gas fields

New Delhi, Sep 2 (IANS) The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Wednesday approved a landmark change in India’s hydrocarbons exploration regime, sanctioning the auction of 69 small and marginal oil fields of state-owned ONGC and Oil India to private and foreign firms.

“For the first time, a revenue-sharing model is being approved in place of production-sharing contract,” Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan told reporters after the cabinet meeting.

“For these 69 fields, the produce can be sold at the prevailing market rates by oil companies, while there will be no allocation constraints,” he said.

Companies offering the maximum revenue share or percentage of oil and gas to the government, and committing to do more work, will win the field.

State-run explorers Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Oil India have surrendered 63 and six oil and gas fields, respectively, which they found uneconomical to develop in view of small reserve size and high economic cost.

Pradhan said that with this move, the central government was unlocking 89 million tonnes of untapped hydrocarbon reserves worth Rs.70,000 crore.

“By revenue-sharing, the government’s income is protected with a minimum benchmark price, and profits over and above would come to us through revenue-sharing, royalty and taxes,” the minister said.

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