New Delhi: The government has approved inviting bids to develop 60 more discovered oil and gas fields under the second round of the Discovered Small Fields (DSF) auction this year, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan announced on Thursday.

The Cabinet on Wednesday approved the auction to be held under the DSF second round in order to speedily into production these fields estimated to hold reserves of 195 million tonnes (MT) of oil and oil equivalent gas.

"DSF II is a replica of DSF I," Pradhan told reporters here.

Queried on a timeline for the auction, he said it was being worked out and would be announced once the ministry has dealt with the bidding that is already open under the Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP).

Of the 60 fields, 22 belong to state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and 5 to Oil India Ltd (OIL), which were not developed for various reasons including their small size, a Petroleum Ministry statement said.

Twelve fields to be offered in DSF II were relinquished fields and discoveries from blocks offered in bids rounds under the earlier New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP), it said.

The remaining 21 fields are those that did not receive any bid in the DSF first round last year, the statement added.

"These fields will be developed and monetised faster, thereby augmenting production of oil and gas leading to enhance energy security of the country," it said.

According to the Ministry, investments into these fields will lead to generation of over 88,000 jobs as direct, indirect and induced employment.

An Empowered Committee of Secretaries (ECS) consisting of the Petroleum, Expenditure and Law Secretaries will finalise and approve the model Revenue Sharing Contract, Notice Inviting Offer and other documents for DSF-II.

"The award of contract will be approved by the Minister of Petroleum and Natural gas and Minister of Finance based on the recommendations of ECS," the statement said.

Following DSF-I, contracts for 31 fields were signed last year.

The auctions are under the new Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP) approved in 2016, which is based on a new revenue-sharing model as opposed to cost-and-output-based norms earlier.

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