FILE PHOTO: A technician works inside the Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) group gathering station on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, India, September 30, 2016. REUTERS/Amit Dave/File photo

NEW DELHI/MUMBAI (Reuters) – India on Sunday launched the third bidding round under its open acreage licensing policy (OALP), according to a government statement.

Twenty three blocks covering an area of 32,000 square kilometers were offered for bidding, out of which 5 are for extraction of coal bed methane.

Total exploration acreage is expected to more than triple to 300,000 square kilometres in two years ending 2019, the statement read.

The third round of bidding is expected to generate up to $700 million, the government said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set a target to cut India’s dependence on foreign oil to 67 percent by 2022.

Under the target, India wants to quickly monetise its hydrocarbon reserves and bring in foreign participation to explore and produce from them.

India has failed to draw interest from global oil majors in licensing rounds since 1990 even though the fiscal terms were eased.

India is so far producing only from seven sedimentary basins out of the 26 that it has discovered.

Reporting Sudarshan Vadradhan and Promit Mukherjee, editing by Alasdair Pal


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