India is moving toward open licensing for exploration and production rights.
The country now negotiates production-sharing agreements with operators after holding bidding rounds under a program it calls New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP). It has held nine NELP rounds since 1999.
Indian Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Shri R.P.N. Singh recently responded to criticism of NELP licensing for its failure to attract widespread participation by large international oil and gas operators (OGJ Online, Aug. 17, 2012).
On Aug. 28, Singh told the upper house of the Indian Parliament that the government has begun work on an “open acreage licensing policy (OALP).”
He also said the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons has started work on a national data repository as a prerequisite of formulation the OALP.
“DGH is examining the possibilities of gathering data bases of national oil companies and private companies and linking them to a common data base,” Singh said.