Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips and Chevron Corp. will likely participate in India's seventh round of auctions under the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP), the Business Standard said on Sunday.

In all, 80-85 blocks will be auctioned under NELP-VII, the paper quoted V.K. Sibal, head of Directorate General of Hydrocarbons as saying.

Sibal told Reuters on Friday that the auction, earlier scheduled for August, has been deferred to November due to a shortage of rigs and a dispute over gas pricing.

He said the blocks would be awarded by June 2008.

Sibal had earlier said the blocks would mostly be off the western coast of India, with the on-land and offshore ratio expected to be 50:50.

The NELP was launched in 1999, and the proposed auction would be the largest single round.

India has awarded 162 oil and gas blocks in the previous six rounds, including 52 in February, which were mostly won by domestic state-run companies.