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AsianOil: India kicks off another oil and gas licensing round

India is offering rights to 26 oil and gas blocks and 16 coal-bed methane (CBM) blocks in its latest exploration licensing contest, the country’s upstream regulator announced last week, as New Delhi looks to expand domestic crude supply.

“There is an unprecedented interest in Indian exploration and production by global oil companies,” Indian Oil Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said last week following a roadshow in Houston in the US.

India has emerged as the third-biggest oil importer in the world, relying on close to 85% of imports to cover its needs, and with global oil prices now soaring, this is coming at a significant cost. 

The 26 blocks on offer include 15 in ultra-deep waters, eight in shallow waters and three onshore. They span 223,000 square km.

According to Reuters, Puri met in Houston with executives from ExxonMobil, oilfield services firm Baker Hughes and LNG producers. India is seeking US technical expertise for offshore oil production and for ethanol and sulphur recovery at oil refineries, the ministry told Reuters.

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