The Indian government is offering 75 oil and gas fields for development under the third round of the discovered small fields (DSF Round-III) with an aim to boost domestic production of crude oil and natural gas.

According to the Indian Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH), the fields will be offered via international competitive bidding (ICB). The fields were discovered by Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), Oil India, and other firms.

The government is seeking bids for development and monetising 32 contract areas that contain the discovered small oil and gas fields. Of these, 11 contract areas are onshore, 20 contract areas are in shallow waters, while the remaining one is in deepwater.

The 11 onshore contract areas contain 19 fields, while the shallow water areas have 54 fields and the deepwater areas have two fields.

The offered contract areas in the DSF Round-III have a total resource potential of approximately 230 million tonnes of oil equivalent (MMtoe)/1.7 billion barrels of oil and oil equivalent of gas (OEG).

The areas on offer have a combined total area of over 13,000km2 and are located in nine sedimentary basins.

The submission for bids for the DSF Round-III will open from 1 February 2022 and close on 15 March 2022.

The DGH said that interested companies, either on their own or in consortiums of unincorporated or incorporated joint ventures can bid for one or more contract areas during the DSF Round-III.

The Indian government plans to award the discovered small fields to successful bidders by entering into a revenue sharing contracts (RSCs) with them. Based on a contractual model, the RSC will need minimum regulatory burden for monetising the fields, said the DGH.

Royalty for onshore areas is payable at a 12.5% rate for crude oil and 10% for natural gas, while the royalty rate for shallow water areas will be 7.5% for crude oil as well as natural gas.

For deepwater contract areas, beyond 400m isobath, there will be no royalty for the first seven years of commercial production and after that, the rate will be 5% for both crude oil and natural gas.

During the previous two bid rounds of discovered small fields, 29 field development plans with a combined investment of $1.76bn were submitted, said the DGH.