India Awards Drilling Rights for New Oil and Gas Fields
India has awarded drilling rights for 31 small oil and gas fields as it looks to reduce its costly dependence on energy imports.
In its first such auction in six years, contracts for the fields were awarded to 22 companies, the majority of which are new to the oil and gas sector.
"The government endeavours to execute these contracts at the earliest so that the awardees can commence production," the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons said in a statement Wednesday.
India is hungry to secure more of its own supplies as half its gas and at least 80 percent of its crude oil requirements are sourced from abroad, draining state finances especially as crude prices climb, analysts say.
In a bid to bolster domestic production, the government announced in 2015 a new policy to encourage investors in smaller oil and gas fields considered too minor for India's energy behemoths.
The government received a total of 134 bids in this auction, with bidders offered improved financial terms on contracts to attract interest.
"This is a very positive move by the government to make it lucrative for companies to invest," said an oil and gas analyst, who is not authorised to speak to the press and declined to be named.
"But the bottom line is that in India we don't have much oil and gas so this is too small a step to move the needle to secure India's energy needs."