India seeks US participation in oil and gas exploration

India has invited US oil and gas companies to participate in its oil and gas exploration efforts, with a view to enhancing energy security of the country. Minister of state for petroleum and natural gas Dharmendra Pradhan also sought US help in completing seismic studies for the entire sedimentary basin of India.

During talks with US deputy secretary of energy Daniel Poneman, the Indian minister also appreciated the permission granted by the US Department of Energy for export of LNG to India.

Poneman, in turn, gave a brief account of the encouraging developments that have taken place in the hydrocarbon sector in the United States and the impact it has had at a global level.

In addition to collaboration in the downstream sector, Poneman urged Indian companies to consider investing in the vibrant upstream hydrocarbon sector of the US. He expressed satisfaction at the progress achieved by the US Trade and Development Agency in identifying projects that could be taken up for improvement in performance of Indian refineries and was hopeful that the sanctions for the USTDA's reverse trade mission for refinery modernization would be in place by October 2014.

Expressing concern at the high level of crude oil prices and in view of the fact that oil and gas production in the US was rapidly increasing, India requested the US side to consider commencement of exports of crude oil.

''Exports of crude oil to India would not only offer a price advantage to India but would also send the correct signal to the global market and could possibly lead to softening of crude oil prices,'' the minister stated.

While appreciating the concerns raised by India Poneman, however, said a major decision like permitting exports of crude oil from the US would require a comprehensive debate and approvals at various levels.

Both sides agreed to consider cooperation in the research and development activities related to gas hydrates. The US side offered to assist in development of the 2nd phase of strategic storage development, particularly related to the technology for storage of crude oil in salt caverns.