With Prime Minister Narendra Modi setting steep target of cutting reliance on imports, the Oil Ministry has intensified monitoring of oil and gas fields given to state-owned firms like ONGC to avoid slippages in domestic output. Modi, in March 2015, had called for cutting India’s dependence on imports to meet oil needs by 10 per cent by 2022, from 77 per cent then. However, India’s import dependence has since only risen to 81 per cent.
“Most of our production of oil and gas come from nomination fields with ONGC and Oil India. We have now started monitoring those fields and have given new benchmarks to the national oil companies to increase production,” Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said at an industry event. He said that oil recovery from reservoirs internationally is 35-40 per cent and that for gas is 55-70 per cent. “In India, the current recovery factors of ONGC and Oil India for crude oil are as low as 27 per cent and 23 per cent. In case of natural gas, it is 54 per cent and 43 per cent for ONGC and Oil India, respectively,” he said.
Pradhan said there is a need for introducing new thoughts, new technologies and remaining ahead of the curve. “I am told E&P sector should have major investment in ‘Internet of Things’. Digital oil fields, all infrastructure linked to the network, ability to monetise micro reserves are the new areas we need to look at,” he said. He cited the example of a marginal oil field in Vienna where sensors and small in-house innovations were used to reduce cost of production and monetise small gas production.
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“In contrast, in India, we have practices like having idle rigs and other assets; unscientific inventory and HR management; flaring of gas and remaining which are keeping us behind the technology curve,” he said. The minister called on investors to come and invest in oil and gas exploration and production under liberal fiscal policies like pricing and marketing freedom and minimal government interference in management of contracts. “The government has consciously tried to reduce administrative and regulatory roadblocks and to infuse new technologies.
“Going forward, the government remains committed to making sustained and significant efforts to liberalise the sector by simplifying processes, increasing market access and bringing developments in the technology domain with the aim to enhance the efficiency of our oil and gas industry,” he said. Pradhan went on to state that there has never been a better time to invest in India’s E&P, given the ample opportunities available.