Panel suggests higher price for domestic gas to reduce imports
22 May 2019
A high-level committee constituted by the government to look into ways of India’s dependency on oil imports has, among others, recommended higher natural gas price for domestic producers, especially for gas produced from difficult fields, in order to reduce the country’s oil and gas imports.
In its report submitted to minister of petroleum and natural gas and skill development and entrepreneurship Dharmendra Pradhan, the high-level committee (HLC) also looked into merger, acquisition and consolidation of oil and gas PSUs and the setting up of joint ventures.
The HLC consisting of Anil Kakodkar, eminent scientist and Sidharth Pradhan, an expert on financial and tax issues, was constituted by the ministry of petroleum and natural gas to examine issues related to preparation of action plan to create synergy among R&D centres of oil and gas PSUs, tax issues and ways to benefit from GST by the oil and gas PSUs.
Besides, the committee explored the need and possibility of formation of new entity dealing with oil services and supply of qualified manpower to oil and gas sector around the world.
Energy security is a key strategic priority for India. During 2018, India consumed 204.92 million tonnes of petroleum products and 58.64 billion cubic metres (BCM) of natural gas whereas domestic production of crude oil and natural gas has almost stagnated. The import dependency of crude oil and LNG during the year was 82.59 per cent and 45.89 per cent, respectively, which is likely to increase in days to come.
During 2018, petroleum import (Rs702,837 crore) was 23.42 per cent of total gross import (Rs3,001,020 crore) of the nation. India’s projected oil demand is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4 per cent during 2016-2030 period, against the world average of 1 per cent though the projected oil demand will be much lower as compared to those of US and China. India is thus at very precarious situation and to secure its energy needs in sustainable manner, out-of-box solutions are needed. R&D is going to play an important role in the process.
The HLC, in the process visited, different R&D and training institutes of different oil and gas PSUs. It also engaged with CMDs/ senior executives of the oil sector to understand the business, challenges and opportunities in the sector before finalising its recommendations.
The committee has recommended short term, medium term and long term strategies in the report, clearly bringing out the strategy to reduce the import dependency of the nation.
The ministry of petroleum and natural gas will consider the recommendations submitted by the committee while formulating policies in the said matter.
The committee has also recommended increasing the use of bio mass, essentially surplus agricultural residue, for harnessing bio fuels. We have also recommended seeking more means for developing bio crude, bio fuels and bio gas…The committee has made major recommendations to accelerate domestic research to commercialise indigenous resources to enhance hydrocarbon supply, Kakodkar added.
An official statement said the committee has clearly brought out the strategy to reduce the import dependency of the nation in the report and has recommended short-term, medium-term and long-term strategies.
The ministry of petroleum and natural gas will consider the recommendations submitted by the committee while formulating policies to bring down imports, the statement added.