India to facilitate larger foreign investments in oil & gas sector

The government intends to bring in policies which would ease the way for large foreign investments in the oil and gas sector in order to hasten the pace of domestic exploration and production, union minister of state (independent charge) for petroleum and natural gas, Dharmendra Pradhan has said.

India, he said, is at a critical stage of development and the new government led by Narendra Modi is giving it the much needed impetus for further growth.

In his opening remarks during the Indian ministerial session at the World Petroleum Congress in Moscow today, he said India consumes 4.5 per cent of world's primary energy and is in fourth position globally and hence it is imperative that all steps are taken to facilitate the availability of energy for every single person thereby ensuring inclusive growth.

He said his ministry is already in the process of bringing amendments to existing rules and initiating new policies.

He said India's national oil companies have invested more than $21 billion overseas for oil and gas exploration and offered the expertise of Indian national oil companies for exploration and production activities overseas.

Pradhan said that the priority of the Modi government would be to put in place transparent systems and time-bound delivery of Government services. Creation of a policy environment, which is predictable, transparent and fair would be a very important action, he added. The minister said the motto is ''Minimum Government and Maximum Governance''.

During the session, the oil and gas sector of India made a presentation outlining the proposed policy changes, including a new uniform licensing policy to facilitate E & P operators to work on a single policy regime.

He said the next round of auctioning of oil and gas blocks will be done with all necessary statutory clearances in place, which will de-risk the exploration activities to some extent. More than 1,48,000 sq. km. have been identified for auction under NELP-X, he added.

The minister earlier held bilateral meetings with energy ministers of Colombia, Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, Algeria, and Trinidad & Tobago. The deliberations were held on specific issues in a spirit of mutual engagement and cooperation, he said.