India is open for business: Dharmendra Pradhan to global oil majors

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Jun 18 2014, 14:19pm hrs
OilMinister says country will ease policies to woo firms
The Centre intends to bring in policies that would ease the way for large foreign investments in the oil & gas sector, said Dharmendra Pradhan, minister of state (independent charge) for petroleum and natural gas at the 21st World Petroleum Congress held in Moscow, Russia.

Pradhan told a gathering of global oil and gas leaders that there is a need for facilitating increased production in India and the need to hasten the pace of domestic exploration and production. "The ministry is already in the process of bringing out amendments and new policies," said the minister.

Inviting global oil and gas majors to invest in India, Pradhan said that the motto is 'minimum government and maximum governance. Creation of a policy environment, which is predictable, transparent and fair, would be a very important action, he added.

At present, India consumes 4.5% of worlds primary energy. Pradhan hinted that India and Russia share good relationship, which the Asian nation looks to extend by working in the hydrocarbon sector. According to sources, India is willing to pursue with Moscow about laying a pipeline to transport oil and gas. Russia has a strong network of pipelines throughout that country. The nearest port is nearly 2,000 km to connect through a pipeline from India's west coast. It would take the same route as the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline (TAPI). Modi is also likely to take up these issues with Russian President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin when they meet at the BRIC summit to be held in Brazil next month.

ONGC Videsh, the overseas subsidiary of ONGC, is keen to explore blocks in the Arctic, which are in the exploration stage. The Arctic region is considered very prolific. Right now, no one is producing from this region. "We would not have the operational expertise in those type of acreages. So, what we are looking at is partnership with Russian companies and an international oil company with the right kind of technology to explore these areas," said a senior OVL official.

During the World Petroleum Congress, India made a presentation to international oil and gas companies that highlighted the proposed policy changes, including bringing in a uniform licensing policy to facilitate exploration and production operators to work on a single policy regime, was outlined. Pradhan also held bilateral meetings with his counterparts from Colombia, Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, Algeria, and Trinidad & Tobago.