Petroleum minister, Puri seeks foreign, private investments in oil and gas production

Petroleum Minister Hardeep Singh Puri promised an open-door policy to resolve any issue faced by the industry as he sought foreign and private investments to boost domestic oil and gas production. At an investor meet called to promote India’s latest offering of discovered fields for bidding, Puri said India, besides offering the world’s fastest-growing energy markets, also offers a rule-based regime.

“The government stands ready to partner with you both in the identification of what remedial steps we need to take in the ecosystem and what need to do to overcome hurdles,” he said. The Indian economy, he said, is poised to take off and the same is going to contribute to the growth of energy demand. And to meet that, domestic exploration and production has to be increased.

Puri said he wants foreign and private firms to get involved in the Indian oil and gas exploration and production. “If anyone, anywhere in the world is thinking of good investment in energy, India is a good place to begin,” he said.

As many as 32 oil and gas blocks with 75 discoveries have been offered in the Discovered Small Field (DSF) round-III. These small and marginal fields were discovered by state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Oil India Ltd (OIL) but they were not economically viable to be developed due to the fiscal regime and their small size. Under DSF, liberal terms including pricing and marketing freedom are offered, making them viable.

In DSF-III, 11 onshore blocks, 20 offshore and one deepwater area are being offered for bidding. These blocks, spread over about 13,000 square kilometers, hold 75 oil and gas discoveries with a combined resource base of 230 million tonnes of oil and oil equivalent gas. In the previous two rounds between 2016 and 2018, 54 blocks, taken away from ONGC and OIL, were awarded. According to Director General Hydrocarbons, 29 field development plans entailing $ 1.76 billion investment have been submitted. Oil production from the areas awarded in two rounds of DSF is envisaged to reach 1.3 million tonnes by 2024 and gas output to touch 2.9 billion cubic meters.

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