The company is withdrawing from those blocks because of delays in clearances, according to local media, but BHP would not confirm the reason for its decision to relinquish its interest.

"The decision to relinquish these blocks is the result of an exploration portfolio review. There have been regular discussions and communications over the last 12 months with the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas," BHP said in a statement.

BHP gave up its interest in six blocks awarded in India's NELP VII bid round, in which it held 26 percent interest and GVK held 74 percent interest as well as three blocks awarded in the NELP VIII bid round in which it held 100 percent interest.

BHP Billiton will keep its 50 percent interest in its NELP IX block, operated by BG Group.

(Agencies)

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