Introduction to petroleum acreage

Director General of Hydro Carbons ( 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.


The Spiti Zanskar Basin.

Acreage releases are going to be made through OALP (Open Acreage Licensing Policy) with defined periodicity (biennial – Proposed 1st Jan and 1st July of any calendar year) 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 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.


India has an estimated sedimentary area of 3.14 million sq km. comprising 26 sedimentary basins, out of which, 1.30 million sq km. area is in deepwater and 1.84 million sq km. area is in onland and shallow offshore. As on 31.03.2014, 0.38 million sq km. area is held under Petroleum Exploration Licenses (PELs) in 17 basins by National Oil Companies viz. Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC), OIL India Limited (OIL) and Private/Joint Venture companies and 0.068 million sq km. area is held under Petroleum Mining Licenses (PMLs) in 7 basins 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. Indian Oil Corp
  2. BPCL
  3. HPCL
  4. GAIL
  5. Reliance
  • Quality of life.

Visit the Govt of India’s website.

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 monetization.


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 multipronged 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, we are in the process to provide necessary fillip to E&P activities in near future. Special focus is also being given to development of marginal fields/ un-monetized discoveries of National Oil Companies.

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

Tax Regime

There is a profit-based tax, which is levied on a petroleum project. Various Tax Concessions & Tax holidays are provided by Govt of India to encourage investments in India’s E&P Sector.

Tax is currently applied to the recovery of all petroleum products from Indian Government waters (including crude oil, natural gas, liquid petroleum gas (LPG) condensate, ethane etc).

Taxation Structure Details 102 KBapplication/pdf icon

Petroleum royalties

Petroleum royalties are administered and collected under State and Centre legislation. Royalties collected for onshore projects are retained by the State Government, while royalties for offshore projects are retained by the Centre Government.  For more information, visit a Link < Give Details about Petroleum Royalties <Finance Department to provide details>.

Major Sedimentary Basins in India.

The sedimentary basins of India, onland and offshore up to the 200m isobath, have an areal extent of about 1.79 million sq. km. So far, 26 basins have been recognized and they have been divided into four categories based on their degree of prospectivity as presently known. In the deep waters beyond the 200m isobath, the sedimentary area has been estimated to be about 1.35 million sq km. The total thus works out to 3.14 million sq km.


Over the last twelve years, there have been significant forward steps in exploring the hydrocarbon potential of the sedimentary basins of India. The unexplored area has come down to 15% which was 50% in 1995-96.


Credit for this achievement goes in large measure to the surveys carried out by DGH in unexplored/poorly explored areas of the country including Deep-waters off west coast, east coast and in Andaman sea and acreages awarded for exploration under NELPs. Concerned efforts are continuously being done to reduce the unexplored area further.


On the basis of prospectivity basins have been categorized as follows:

Category : Proven Commerical Productivity

Basin Name On-land Area Offshore Area Total
Assam-Arakan 116000 116000
Cambay 51000 2500 53500
Cauvery 25000 30000 55000
Krishna-Godawari Offshore 28000 24000 52000
Mumbai Offshore 116000 116000
Rajasthan 126000 126000

Category : Identified Prospectivity

Basin Name On-land Area Offshore Area Total
Kutch 35000 13000 48000
Mahanadi-NEC 55000 14000 69000
Andaman-Nicobar 6000 41000 47000

Category : Prospective Basins

Basin Name On-land Area Offshore Area Total
Bengal 57000 32000 89000
Ganga 186000 186000
Himalyan Foreland 30000 30000
Kerla-Konkan Lakshdweep 94000 94000
Saurashtra 52000 28000 80000
Vindhyan 162000 162000

Category : Potentially Prospective

Basin Name On-land Area Offshore Area Total
Bastar 5000 5000
Bhima Kaladgi 8500 8500
Chhattisgarh 32000 32000
Cuddapah 39000 39000
Deccan Syneclise 273000 273000
Karewa 3700 3700
Narmada 17000 17000
Pranhita Godavari 15000 15000
Satpura-S.Rewa-Damodar 46000 46000
Spiti Zanskar 22000 22000

How to apply for acreage.

Introduction to OALP/ULP

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

The acreages will be allotted on a biennial basis after evaluation for competitive work program bids etc.

Online lodgement for available acreages will be available through the <Link>.

Native title

Access to land and offshore areas is influenced by government policy, legislation and community acceptability of petroleum resource exploration and development. The department works with other government departments and authorities, conservation bodies, the community and the petroleum industry, in order to achieve a balance between all needs.

The department facilitates access in accordance with relevant legislation and government policy concerning Native Title, Indigenous heritage and land-access planning for exploration and development of Western Australia’s resources on all land areas of the State and adjoining coastal waters.

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.


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 DGH for obtaining approval from Ministry of Defence on behalf of operator.

Resources safety

OISD is committed to protecting employees and the community. The services provided by OISD are aimed at promoting best practice in the areas of occupational safety and health with companies (and their employees) involved in petroleum industries. To find out more about visit their page. OISD website and DGMS website.

Obtaining Geoscience data

Most of the publically 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. Contact information for the different formats of petroleum data – digital reports, data packages, paleontological slides, cores and cuttings and microfiche can be found on the  TWS .
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. To read more about legislation.

Further information

For companies considering exploration or investing in India and for companies currently in operation, the  Ministry of Petroleum & Natural GasDGH provides the necessary guidance and requirements to meet all relevant legislation for resource activity.

For more information contact:
General enquiries-
Data enquiries-


HOD-NDR/Chief NDR- +91-120-247-2578

NDR Reception- +91-120-247-2548

DGH Reception- +91-120-247-2000