By Dibyanshu, Prateek Bhandari, Sathyajith Nair

The Union Cabinet on 1 August 2018 approved the policy framework (Policy) for the
exploration and exploitation of unconventional hydrocarbons. By way of background, the exploration and production regime of New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP), Coal Bed Methane Policy (CBM Policy) and nomination regime did not permit the contractors to exploit unconventional hydrocarbons in previously allotted licensed or leased areas.

For instance, companies operating coal bed methane (CBM) blocks under the CBM Policy were not permitted to exploit any hydrocarbon other than CBM. The Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP) and Discovered Small Field Policy brought about a paradigm shift in the approach of the Government of India towards upstream oil and gas sector, in as much as the Government of India permitted companies to exploit any hydrocarbon based on one single license.