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Open Acreage Licencing Policy (OALP)

Setting up of National Data Repository is one of the milestones achieved for Open Acreage Licensing Policy. To make India a favorable destination globally for Exploration of Crude Oil and Natural Gas, the Government plans to move to the OALP regime soon. This will enable upstream companies to bid for any Oil and Gas block without waiting for the announcement of bidding as currently under the NELP regime.


It is well acknowledged that there is a need for a faster vehicle of awarding blocks in order to bring more area under exploration. Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) is one such vehicle which is under consideration of the Government wherein blocks may be offered round the year to the interested companies. The selection of the block would be left to the interested player as opposed to NELP where blocks are carved out by the Government. However, launch of OALP would directly depend upon the availability of the data for both the awarded and un-awarded acreages.


As India has vast unexplored sedimentary basins, a strategy which facilitates a time bound full coverage has become a necessity. Moreover, even the OALP pre-supposes offering of data to the interested companies for them to submit their bids/ interest. Hence, availability of data is no longer an option, but a pre-condition. The Planning Commission therefore observed that the existing multiclient speculative survey policy will not serve the desired objective. Hence, the policy prescription must provide for a definite strategy -one for proven basins wherein the data companies could acquire multiclient data at their own expense and risk, and offer the data to interested companies who may be able to obtain the chosen acreages through an OALP process. As regards the un-proven basins, other models based on PPP may be considered by the Government.


In view of the above background, it has been decided to formulate a Geo-scientific Data Generation Policy for Hydrocarbons in the country which will be a cornerstone for the launch of Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) to promote E&P activities. This Policy envisages two basic models for generation of geo-scientific data for Indian basins


(i) Non-exclusive Multi-client Model:- In areas where there are expressions of interest by Service Provider to carry out Survey.

(ii) Funding by Government: For area for which no offer to Conduct Survey under (i) is received even after two years of its launch, Government may initiate Survey with own funds.


Seven proposals have been received for generation of approx 107386 LKM 2D Seismic data, under the policy for Geo-scientific data generation for hydrocarbons in Indian sedimentary Basins, through Non-exclusive Multi-Client Geo-scientific surveys/ Activities. All the seven proposals have received clearances from Ministry of Defence (MOD) and Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA). DGH has issued provisional letter of consent to all the proposals.

Uniform Licensing Policy (ULP)

To enable E&P operators to explore and extract all types of hydrocarbon resources covered under the Oilfields Regulation and Development (ORD) Act, 1948, and Petroleum and Natural Gas (PNG) Rules, 1959, Government of India in considering Uniform Licensing Policy (ULP). This will facilitate exploration and exploitation of both conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon resources together, in an awarded block under one PEL / PML.


  • The decision taken in accordance with policy will further help in drilling appraisal wells after submission of DoC in five blocks. This will also help in probing additional reservoir extent and submission of robust field development plan in three blocks.

  • The policy framework has also helped in taking technical decisions based in merits for swapping of 2D seismic work program with 3D seismic work program and vice-versa in five blocks.