Argentina has proposed joint development of unconventional resources such as shale gas with India. This comes at a time when shale gas exploration is currently allowed for only government-owned players — ONGC and Oil India. So far, India has not commercially exploited shale gas and the two PSU firms are working on test wells.
“The potential is huge, we are keen to increase the capacity and that is why we met ONGC. Also, we are pushing the government to change the current policy and allow foreign investors in the oil sector. We are keen on having a long-term policy,” said Mariano C Groppo, director, Lappco International, Argentina.
He was part of the business delegation under the umbrella of ‘Namastrade’ an Argentine-India trade body which was here in New Delhi for the third edition of the India-Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) Conclave last week
Recently, the Union government announced a marginal fields policy to auction 69 fields. As per the latest policy, the government would allow explorers to exploit any hydrocarbon resources – conventional or unconventional – in these fields. However, no rights have been given to private or foreign companies to find shale gas in India.
PSU oil and gas company ONGC has started exploration in nearly 50 blocks, while Oil India is working on 3 blocks.
The delegation from the South American nation has also hinted towards attracting India companies to invest in their territories.
“The elections in my country will soon happen and hopefully there will be changes. The next elected government might look into attracting foreign investors,” said Groppo.
Industry watchers feel that Argentina and India could deepen economic ties, as the central government is working towards a strategy to strengthen ties with energy-rich South American nations. Exploration of unconventional resources such as shale gas in India is also one of the top agendas for the Narendra Modi-led government.
Another sector where Argentina and India can work together is renewable energy. “We have the world’s highest potential and that is why we met several Indian companies to collaborate,” added the director of Lappco International.