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Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP)

Published: 4th Sep, 2019

Government offers seven oil and natural gas blocks for bidding under OALP-IV.


Government offers seven oil and natural gas blocks for bidding under OALP-IV.


  • Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) gives an option to a company looking for exploring hydrocarbons to select the exploration blocks on its own, without waiting for the formal bid round from the Government.
  • Under Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP), a bidder intending to explore hydrocarbons like oil and gas, coal bed methane, gas hydrate etc., may apply to the Government seeking exploration of any new block (not already covered by exploration).
  • The Government will examine the Expression of Interest and justification. If it is suitable for award, Govt. will call for competitive bids after obtaining necessary environmental and other clearances.
  • OALP was introduced vide a Cabinet decision of the Government as part of the new fiscal regime in exploration sector called HELP or Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy, so as to enable a faster survey and coverage of the available geographical area which has potential for oil and gas discovery.
  • What distinguishes OALP from New Exploration and Licensing Policy (NELP) is that under OALP, oil and gas acreages will be available round the year instead of cyclic bidding rounds as in NELP. Potential investors need not have to wait for the bidding rounds to claim acreages.
  • 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.
  • It is well acknowledged that there is a need for a faster vehicle of awarding blocks in order to bring more area under exploration.
  • 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.

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