Modi hints at further reforms in energy sector

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday hinted at further reforms in many areas in the energy sector when he said the status of the energy sector in India was ''highly uneven.''

Addressing a gathering of oil and gas CEOs and experts from across the world, Modi also recognised the need for a comprehensive energy policy. The development comes at a time when the country is offering exploration blocks under the liberalised Open Acreage Licensing Policy.

''Now with this liberalised regime India offers around $300 billion investment opportunity in the next 10 years in the oil and gas sector. We want investors, both domestic and global, who can bring in the best technology and capital,'' petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan had told the gathering during the meeting.

Speaking to reporters later, Pradhan added that the prime minister urged the industry players to have more investments to have both vertical and horizontal growth in the sector.

FDI inflows into India's petroleum and natural gas sector between April 2000 and June 2017 has been just $6.86 billion, 2 per cent of the total FDI inflows during the period, as per data available with the department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP).

A senior official associated with the government, however, said the global oil giants evinced interest to invest a whopping $1 trillion in the country over the next five years. While Saudi Aramco, which opened an office in India on Sunday, alone intends to invest $300 billion over the next three to four years, Rosneft - which had invested $13 billion for acquiring Essar Oil - has plans to ramp it up, he said.

While the prices of auto fuels namely high-speed diesel and motor spirit have been deregulated, the wasteful element of LPG subsidy outgo has been curtailed and gas extracted from difficult terrain is offered premium prices, experts reckon more needs to be done to enthuse investors.

CEOs and/or officials from Rosneft, BP, Reliance, Saudi Aramco, Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, Vedanta, Wood MacKenzie, IHS Markit, Schlumberger, Halliburton, Xcoal, ONGC, Indian Oil, GAIL, Petronet LNG, Oil India, HPCL, Delonex Energy, NIPFP, International Gas Union, the World Bank and the International Energy Agency were present at the India Energy Forum organised by CERAWeek.