New Delhi: The RIL-BP combine made its first bid for an oil and gas exploration block in more than a decade, vying for one of the 32 blocks up for auction in the OALP-II and III bid rounds, which saw mining major Vedanta put in as many as 30 bids and ONGC, for 20 areas.

Bidding for 14 blocks on offer in the Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) round-II and another 18 oil and gas blocks and 5 coal-bed methane (CBM) blocks on offer in OALP-III closed on Wednesday. Official sources said Vedanta, which had walked away with 41 out of the 55 blocks offered in OALP-I last year, bid for 30 areas.

Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) bid for 20 blocks while Oil India Ltd (OIL) bid for 15. Indian Oil Corp (IOC), GAIL (India) and SunPetro bid for two blocks each, they said.  Reliance Industries-BP made an offer for one block off the east coast. The block they bid for possibly is the one which BP had demarcated during the expression of interest (EoI) stage.

India had in July 2017 allowed companies to carve out blocks of their choice with a view to bringing about 2.8 million sq km of unexplored area in the country under exploration. Under open acreage licensing policy, companies are allowed to put in an EoI for prospecting of oil and gas in any area that is presently not under any production.