NEW DELHI India's first auction of small discovered fields drew a tepid response with local firms dominating the auction for operating assets estimated to hold 625 million barrels of oil and oil equivalent gas.India has received 134 bids from 42 companies, including five foreign bidders, for 34 contract areas, according to a government statement issued on Monday. No bids were received for 12 areas.India, the world's third biggest oil consumer, conducted foreign roadshows and eased rules to lure foreign investment and tap the nation's vast energy resources. India launched the auction after a gap of six years.The blocks were offered in May under a revenue-sharing model with eased tax rules, offering pricing and marketing freedom to the operators.
Oil and Natural Gas Corp and Oil India Ltd gave up these blocks as uneconomical due to size, geography and low state-set energy prices.
"The bid round took place in a challenging global market environment when oil and gas prices have been volatile and investment in the exploration and production sector has seen substantial decline," the statement added.However, the oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan tweeted: "This response despite low oil prices is testimony of India emerging as an attractive investment destination."
(Reporting by Nidhi Verma; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)
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