India battling poor investor interest in oil and gas sector as prices drop – report

The slide in crude oil prices has dampened fresh investments in India’s oil and gas sector, a newspaper quoted government officials and industry executives as saying .

“In the present scenario, with the sliding oil price, you all will appreciate, the oil sector is challenging,” the Mint newspaper quoted Dharmendra Pradhan, minister of state for petroleum and natural gas, as saying on the sidelines of an energy seminar.

“With that scenario, I am very much hopeful every year we can spend more than Rs.100,000 crore in capital expenditure,” he said.

The government is crafting a roadmap for infrastructure, technology and long-duration projects for 25 years, with the oil ministry’s data projecting India’s energy requirements will treble by 2040, the newspaper said.

“With a target of reducing energy import dependence by 10% by 2021-22, India plans to raise production from existing fields and step up exploration activities by appraising 1.5 million sq. km of un-appraised area of Indian sedimentary basins and easing some regulations,” it added.

“We want investments in upstream, downstream and midstream sectors… the government has come up with a clear agenda on stepping up production… there is a need for energy security through diversification,” it quoted Kapil Dev Tripathy, secretary, ministry of petroleum and natural gas, as saying.

Pradhan said the government is working on an investor-friendly policy that will include measures ranging from market deregulation to purchase preference for local manufacturers. The latter will mean a 10 percent purchase preference for foreign and Indian firms that have local content in their goods and services.

The ministry has circulated a consultation paper for public feedback and aims to offer purchase benefits in tenders. “With the present crude oil price, we are waiting for the right time,” Pradhan said, according to the newspaper.


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