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Government signs contracts for 31 small fields, 4 coal bed methane blocks

The government has signed contracts for 31 discovered small fields (DSF) under the third round of bidding as well as for four coal bed methane (CBM) blocks under the fifth round of bidding with 14 domestic companies, which have been awarded these blocks.

Among these blocks, the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has signed six contracts for DSF, with 3 each for fields in the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal. These include four contract areas as a sole bidder and two contract areas in partnership with the Indian Oil Corporation Limited.

The ONGC has also signed two contracts for CBM fields situated in Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh. Cairn Oil & Gas has also signed pacts for eight fields.

The contracts were exchanged in the presence of Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, Petroleum Secretary Pankaj Kumar, and ONGC Chairman Rajesh Kumar on Friday.

The third round for DSF was launched by the government on June 10, 2021, where 75 fields were clubbed under 31 contract areas. The CBM bidding round was launched on September 22, 2021, and concluded on May 31 with 15 blocks under offer.

Puri said that the government has taken various measures to mitigate the volatility of global crude oil and gas prices.

Adding that India has shown great resilience in the face of a global energy crisis, the Petroleum Minister said that fuel price rise in India has been contained in comparison to an exponential rise in developed countries.

Most of the developed nations have witnessed a significant inflation rise in gasoline price by almost 40 percent between July 2021 and August 2022, while in India, gasoline price has reduced by 2.12 percent, he said.

The minister highlighted that the gas price of all the major trading hubs has seen a massive increase between July 2021 and August 2022 as US's Henry Hub rose by 140 percent and United Kingdom's NBP shot up by 281 percent. Compared to this in India, compressed natural gas and piped natural gas prices have risen by only 71 percent, he said.

On LPG or cooking gas prices, the minister said that in the last two years, Saudi CP price (India's import benchmark) has increased by 303 percent, while the price in India rose by less than a tenth of that figure, i.e. 28 percent.