India Seeks Foreign, Private Investments In Oil And Gas Production

Petroleum Minister Hardeep Singh Puri promised an open door policy to handle any industry issues as he solicited international and private investment to expand domestic oil and gas production.

At an investor meet called to promote India's latest offering of discovered fields for bidding, Puri said India, besides offering the world's fastest-growing energy markets, also offers a rule-based regime.
"The government stands ready to partner with you both in the identification of what remedial steps we need to take in the ecosystem and what need to do to overcome hurdles," he said.
The Indian economy, he said, is poised to take off and the same is going to contribute to the growth of energy demand. And to meet that, domestic exploration and production has to be increased.
Puri said he wants foreign and private firms to get involved in the Indian oil and gas exploration and production. "If anyone, anywhere in the world is thinking of good investment in energy, India is a good place to begin," he said.
Addressing representatives of private and foreign companies who joined the meet online, he said, "I look forward to many of our friends who are on the screen... to intensify their interest here."
"My doors are open... tell me what is it we have to do to make sure that you are able to take business decisions," he said.
As many as 32 oil and gas blocks with 75 discoveries have been offered in the Discovered Small Field (DSF) round-III. These small and marginal fields were discovered by state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Oil India Ltd (OIL) but they were not economically viable to be developed due to the fiscal regime and their small size.
Under DSF, liberal terms including pricing and marketing freedom are offered, making them viable.
Stating that he is very bullish about the Indian economy, the minister said per capita energy consumption in India is one-third of the global average and it will rise as incomes grow and urbanisation rises.
Responding to a participant's comment, Puri said dealing with the government was a "dreadful experience" 20 years ago.
The participant had comparing ease of doing business now and in the past, stating that being called by the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons -- the oil ministry's technical arm for oil and gas production -- was a "dreadful experience 20 years back".
"Somebody said 20 years ago DGH was a dreadful experience. I don't know why they regard only DGH as a dreadful experience. 20 years ago anything to do with the government was a dreadful experience. I mean it. I was a civil servant for 39 years," the minister said.
In DSF-III, 11 onshore blocks, 20 offshore and one deepwater area are being offered for bidding. These blocks, spread over about 13,000 square kilometers, hold 75 oil and gas discoveries with a combined resource base of 230 million tonnes of oil and oil equivalent gas.
In the previous two rounds between 2016 and 2018, 54 blocks, taken away from ONGC and OIL, were awarded. According to DGH, 29 field development plans entailing USD 1.76 billion investment have been submitted.
By 2024, oil production from the DSF regions allocated in two rounds is expected to reach 1.3 million tonnes, with gas production reaching 2.9 billion cubic metres.

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