• No queue of bidders at GSPC for onshore blocks

    Gujarat State Petroleum Corp (GSPC) has once again extended the bid-submission deadline for the 12 onshore blocks that it has put on auction. The Gujarat government company, which is on a debt reduction path, has met a roadblock, as likely bidders didn’t show interest and instead sought an auction-date extension.

    While GSPC received bid interest from one foreign private equity firm, central PSUs like Indian Oil Corp Ltd (IOCL), Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL), and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) have sought further extension of the May 15 deadline, said a state government official.

    These companies have sought extension as the GSPC’ deadline coincided with the central government’s Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP), its last day of bid submission also being May 15, the official said.

    “The last date of bid submission for the GSPC blocks has been extended from May 15 to June 17,” said an official privy to the matter.

    Under the new Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP), OALP Bid Round-1 was launched in January 2018 by the Centre. The new policy aims to bring companies to carve out blocks of their choice with a view to tap 28 billion tonnes of unexplored hydrocarbon resources in the country. The second and third rounds of OALP have been underway.

    On March 1, Gujarat Energy Research and Management Institute, GSPC’s energy research arm, floated a tender to farm out two operating and 10 non-operating exploration and production fields. GSPC had opened its data room for bidders and had invited proposals from companies till April 15. However, it had to extend the deadline to May 15 citing that some companies sought extension due to OALP. It has now extended the deadline once more.

    “Later on, OALP also extended its deadline to May 15 which coincided with GSPC’s,” said the second official.

    Of the 12 fields, GSPC is the operator of two – Unawa and Miroli, while it is the non-operating partner in the rest.

    GSPC plans to use the proceeds of sale to retire its debt. In July 2016, GSPC had unsuccessfully attempted to sell its stake in 20 blocks.

    “The gas prices are currently down so it’s a good time to for buyers but not for sellers. GSPC can get a good price for its blocks if the prices move upward in the near future,” said an industry expert.

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