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 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 dated March 10th 2016, as part of the new fiscal regime in exploration sector called HELP for oil and gas discovery.
India has a sedimentary area of 3.14 million sq. km. comprising of 26 basins. At the end of 2012-13, about 48% of this sedimentary area remains unapprised. This includes, 65% of the total on-land sedimentary area, 22% of the shallow off-shore basin (bathymetry upto 400m) and around 49% of the deep off-shore.