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New Delhi, Feb 15 (IANS) The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved 31 contracts for exploration of small oil and gas contract areas under the Discovered Small Fields (DSF) Bid Round 2016, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced here.

“The cabinet decided to award contracts under the Discovered Fields Policy on proposals submitted by the Petroleum Ministry… 31 contracts have been cleared today (Wednesday),” Jaitley told reporters following a cabinet meeting.

“With regard to 14 such contracts there was a single bid. For 17 such contracts there were multiple bids… the cabinet, thus, finalised 31 of these proposals,” he said.

“The decision will lead to greater investment in oil exploration, more production and employment generation,” he added.

As many as 46 contract areas designated for 67 discovered small fields across nine sedimentary basins were on offer under the DSF Bid Round 2016, bids for which came in from majors like Cairn India and Hindustan Oil Exploration Company, along with from five smaller foreign firms.

The government had put up for bidding for production under a new revenue sharing model these small fields originally discovered by state-run explorers Oil and Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC) and Oil India. They, however, could not develop these because of their small size.

The auction was under the new Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP) approved in March last year, which is based on a revenue-sharing model as opposed to cost-and-output-based norms earlier.

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