a worker cycling by an Indian oil refinery
This photograph taken on October 4, 2016 shows a worker cycling by an Indian oil refinery belonging to Essar Oil at Vadinar, some 380km from Ahmedabad.SAM PANTHAKY/AFP/Getty Images [Representational Image]

India on Sunday launched the third bidding round under its open acreage licensing policy (OALP), according to a government statement.

Twenty-three blocks covering an area of 32,000 square kilometres were offered for bidding, out of which five are for extraction of coal bed methane.

Total exploration acreage is expected to more than triple to 300,000 square kilometres in two years ending 2019, the statement read.

The third round of bidding is expected to generate up to $700 million, the government said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set a target to cut India's dependence on foreign oil to 67 per cent by 2022.

Under the target, India wants to quickly monetise its hydrocarbon reserves and bring in foreign participation to explore and produce from them.

India has failed to draw interest from global oil majors in licensing rounds since 1990 even though the fiscal terms were eased.

India is so far producing only from seven sedimentary basins out of the 26 that it has discovered.