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Research and Invest in India

Introduction to Petroleum Acreage

Directorate General of Hydrocarbons ( DGH ) under the aegis of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas , Govt of India actively assesses and promotes the hydrocarbon exploration and production activities in India. While oil exploration has been occurring since the early 1860s in India, it is the past 40 years that have seen significant exploration, production and marketing developments.

Acreage releases are going to be made through OALP (Open Acreage Licensing Policy) with defined periodicity  for the areas within India’s jurisdiction.

Information documents and data packages are available for:

  • Hydrocarbon prospectivity
  • Lists of available G&G data
  • Details on how and when applications are to be made
  • Assessment criteria by which applications are to be considered
  • Land access information (Native Title and environment)
  • Other information pertinent to the particular areas.

The available acreages that did not attract successful bids in the previous cycle and are not licensed to any other operator for E&P activities are generally re-released in the following cycle.


Opportunities and Developments in India

India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Strong GDP growth rate have resulted in a surging demand for energy including oil & gas. India is the fourth largest primary energy consumer, after China, USA and Russia. The Government has taken number of measures to bring in healthy competition and public participation by the way, of New Exploration and Licensing policy (NELP) for exploration & production of oil & gas in the country. NELP has not only accelerated the quest for hydrocarbon exploration, but has also brought the state of the art technology and efficiency of operations / management to the country.

The total basin area of the 26 sedimentary basins of India is close to 3.36 million sq km with on-land area of 1.63 million sq km and shallow-water of 0.41 million sq km.  In the deep waters beyond the 400m isobath, the sedimentary area has been estimated to be about  1.32 million sq km.


As on 31.03.2019,  0.099 million sq km. area is held under Petroleum Exploration Licenses (PELs) by National Oil Companies viz. Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC), OIL India Limited (OIL) and Private/Joint Venture companies and  0.071 million sq km. area is held under Petroleum Mining Licenses (PMLs) by National Oil Companies (ONGC & OIL) and Private/Joint Venture companies.


To find out more about India including:

  • Major resource producers
  1. ONGC
  2. Oil India Ltd
  3. Reliance Petroleum Limited
  4. GSPC
  5. Cairn India
  • Top Marketing companies
  1. IOCL
  2. BPCL
  3. HPCL
  4. GAIL
  5. Reliance

Visit the Govt of India’s website for more information.


Economic Profile

Energy drives the economic growth of a country. Crude Oil and Natural Gas is a vital source of primary energy in India. It is more efficient, convenient and a cleaner source as compared to other fossil fuels like Coal. This has led to a rapid increase in the demand for Crude Oil and Natural Gas in the country creating a demand supply gap. Domestic availability of Crude Oil and Gas have not kept pace with the demand resulting in increased dependence on imports affecting the energy security of India. Large scale capital investment and state-of-art technology are necessary to expand domestic exploration and production. It is imperative to attract more private and foreign companies to invest in Exploration and Production (E&P) sector of India. This is being achieved by creating an investor friendly climate through policy decisions, fast and efficient decision making process and removal of the roadblocks. It is equally important to monitor the fields/blocks which are on production or under various phases of exploration/ appraisal/ development for higher and early monetisation.


Investment Opportunities in India

India faces formidable challenges in meeting its energy requirements. Energy security is our primary concern. Being a developing country, our energy requirements are rapidly increasing year after year. Growth of the economy automatically leads to growth in energy consumption. Oil and gas plays a vital role in the overall energy mix in our country. We need to adopt multi-pronged strategies to meet the challenge. There is an urgent need to rapidly explore our areas extensively to discover more Oil & Gas and also explore and develop other unconventional hydrocarbon energy resources like Shale Gas / Oil, Coal Bed Methane, Gas hydrates etc.Our Government is working on multiple fronts including policy reforms to accelerate the pace of activities of Oil & Gas Exploration and Production Sector. We are in the process of modifying the contractual regime to facilitate investors to avoid micro-level management and reduce regulatory requirements. We are also evolving a Uniform Licensing Policy which will allow the operators to explore and produce all types of hydrocarbon resources including Shale Gas/ Oil in an awarded area. With these measures and few other reforms. Special focus is also being given to development of marginal fields/ un-monetised discoveries of National Oil Companies.

To find out more about investment opportunities in India. Visit the Govt of India’s website.


How to apply for acreage

The acreages for state onshore and offshore areas will be available throughout the year as defined in Open Acreage License Policy / Uniform License Policy

The acreages will be allotted after evaluation for competitive work program bids etc.

Online application for available acreages will be available through the link – https://online.dghindia.org/oalp


Environmental Requirements

A key role of the department is to promote best environmental management practices by delivering environmental regulatory and policy services, in a manner that maximises the responsible development of the Country’s petroleum resources.

The role of the Environment Ministry is to:

  • Administer the environmental aspects of petroleum legislation
  • Provide environmental assessment, audit and monitoring services for the resources industry
  • Offer incident investigation services and initiate the Department’s enforcement policy as required
  • Liaise with core stakeholders and benchmark the Division’s performance against customer expectations.

To read more information about Environmental requirements, refer: Ministry of Environment Website .



As per the existing procedure, all foreign vessels, drilling rigs, barges, platforms, supply vessels, etc. engaged in E&P activities in India are required to obtain security clearance from Ministry of Defence (Integrated Headquarters of Ministry of Defence – Navy) and the applications are submitted to Directorate General of Hydrocarbons(DGH) for obtaining approval from Ministry of Defence on behalf of operator.


Obtaining Geo-science Data

Most of the publicly available E&P data can be accessed via Online systems (For Registered User),(Register for new User). These services provide essential reference material for anyone exploring India for petroleum resources. Information on the different formats of petroleum data – digital reports, data packages can be found on the NDR Data Portal .
Please refer below documents for NDR data price, refund and cancellation policy



The Government of India, controls all laws and rules for petroleum exploration and development.

Further Information

For companies considering exploration or investing in India and for companies currently in operation, the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Directorate General of Hydrocarbons(DGH) provides the necessary guidance and requirements to meet all relevant legislation for resource activity.



For more information contact:
General/ Data enquiries- indr[at]dghindia[dot]gov[dot]in


HoD-NDR : +91-120-247-2578

NDR Reception: +91-120-247-2548

DGH Reception- +91-120-247-2000