NEW DELHI: In an effort to increase investments in the oil exploration sector in the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday interacted with global oil and gas experts including BP Group CEO Bob Dudley and International Energy Agency (IEA) Executive Director Fatih Birol.
With crude oil touching 11-year low at $35/barrel, the Prime Minister discussed steps to increase oil exploration in the country, where no major discoveries have been brought to production in the last 5 years.
The interaction, which lasted over two hours also included Union ministers Arun Jaitley, Piyush Goyal and Dharmendra Pradhan, Vice-Chairman of NITI Aayog Arvind Panagariya, besides top officials from the government and NITI Aayog, an official statement said.
The discussions focused on “subjects such as increasing the share of gas in India’s energy mix, fresh investment in oil and gas exploration in India, regulatory frameworks, international acquisition of oil and gas assets, emerging areas such as shale gas and coal-bed methane, and the oil and gas sector related possibilities of Make in India,” it said.
India already imports three-quarters of its oil and as its fast-growing economy sucks up more and more fuel, the International Energy Agency (IEA) projects this will rise above 90 per cent. Its few domestic fields like Barmer and Bombay High off the coast of Mumbai go only a short way to countering its import dependence.
Modi emphasised on the need for taking a fresh look at the sector, to bring in investment, technological upgradation, and development of human resource.
The government has earlier allowed 100 per cent FDI in many segments of the sector, including natural gas, petroleum products, and refineries, among others. According to data released by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), the petroleum and natural gas sector attracted FDI worth $6.62 billion between April 2000 and September 2015.
According to Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the upstream oil and gas sector will see investments of close to `1.6 lakh crore over the next 5-7 years for development of discovered basins and other exploration and development activities. By 2015-16, the country’s demand for gas may touch 124 MTPA against a domestic supply of 33 MTPA and higher imports of 47.2 MTPA, leaving a shortage of 44 MTPA.