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India says to sell small oil, gas fields to private companies

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India will auction 69 small and marginal oil and gas fields surrendered by state explorers, oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Wednesday, expecting private companies to boost output from the areas that hold resources of more than US$10 billion.

[NEW DELHI] India will auction 69 small and marginal oil and gas fields surrendered by state explorers, oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Wednesday, expecting private companies to boost output from the areas that hold resources of more than US$10 billion.

India, the world's No 4 oil consumer, meets only a fraction of its demand through local sources and wants to boost private and foreign participation in its industry, dominated by state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp and Oil India , and privately held Reliance Industries.

Mr Pradhan expects bidding to start in three months for the fields that were given up by ONGC and Oil India as they were uneconomical due to size, geography and state-set low sale prices.

The fields have reserves of about 89 million tonnes worth 700 billion rupees (S$14.95 billion), Mr Pradhan said at a press conference.

REUTERS

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