China is putting out for auction five oil and gas blocks in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region to domestic investors, under the government's pledged reform to open up hydrocarbon exploration to players outside the dominant State giants.
Five blocks totaling 9,091 square kilometers in size in the Tarim basin are being offered for bidding, the Ministry of Land and Resources said on Tuesday in a statement posted on its website.
This is the second such auction in the Xinjiang region announced by the ministry.
A lack of private investment in oil and gas exploration has been a big stumbling block in China's attempts to reform the sector, and it has picked the hydrocarbon-rich autonomous region of Xinjiang to try to break the grip of the big companies.
Bidders need to have net assets of 1 billion yuan ($151.2 million) or more, and have from Tuesday to January 2 to collect the data package.
A government source with knowledge of the auction said some of these blocks had been relinquished by State-owned oil giants that have carried out limited exploration work, according to Reuters.
Media reports said in January that the government planned to auction about 30 oil and gas blocks this year.
In July 2015, the ministry released five blocks in Xinjiang in its first tender to attract private investors.
An independent Shandong-based company and State-owned Beijing Energy Investment Holdings were among the firms awarded four of the five blocks.
(Source: Global Times)