The money spent on crude oil imports was highest since 2013-14 when the import bill was Rs 8.64 lakh crore, he said.
State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) has discovered over 230 million tonnes of in-place oil reserves in the last three years, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said Monday. In a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, he said India’s top oil and gas producer ONGC as on April 1, 2019, has in place oil reserves of 459.84 million tonnes. These reserves are spread over 16 assets it currently extracts oil from, he said. “ONGC has established 230.29 million tones of oil initial-in-place during the last three years,” he added. The company produced 21.11 million tonnes of oil in the fiscal year ended March 31 (2018-19). In last three years, it produced a cumulative 65.66 million tonnes of oil.
To a separate question, Pradhan said the government had constituted a committee for preparing a road map to reduce the dependency on energy imports by 10 per cent by 2021-22. India, currently, is more than 83 per cent dependent on imports to meet its oil needs and roughly imports half of its natural gas requirement. The panel suggested “five-pronged strategy broadly comprises of increasing domestic production of oil and gas, promoting energy efficiency and conservation measures, giving thrust on demand substitution, capitalizing untapped potential in bio-fuels and other alternate fuels/renewables and implementing measures for refinery process improvements,” he said.
The government, he said, has taken several steps to enhance exploration and production of oil and gas in the country. These include a policy of extension of contracts for existing fields, policy for relaxations, discovered small field policy, Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP), policy for early monetization of coal bed methane (CBM), setting up of National Data Repository and appraisal of unexplored areas in sedimentary basins.
“The government in February 2019 approved major reforms in exploration and licensing policy to enhance exploration activities, attract domestic and foreign investment inunexplored/unallocated areas of sedimentary basins and accelerate domestic production of oil and gas from existing fields,” he said. He did not elaborate.
The policy reforms provide greater weightage to exploration work in bidding out of areas on simplified fiscal and contractual terms, he said, adding exploration blocks in areas that do not have any established hydrocarbon potential will not have any production or revenue sharing with government. Also, early monetization of discoveries is being targeted by extending fiscal incentives and natural gas production incentivized through marketing and pricing freedom. Functional freedom has been given to national oil companies for collaboration, and private sector participation for production enhancement methods in nomination fields, he said. Pradhan said the government is also promoting the use of environment-friendly CNG as a transportation fuel.
Also, ethanol is being blended in petrol and non-edible oil in diesel to cut imports. India spent Rs 7.83 lakh crore on crude oil imports in 2018-19, up from Rs 5.66 lakh crore in the previous year. The money spent on crude oil imports was highest since 2013-14 when the import bill was Rs 8.64 lakh crore, he said.