Modi meets global oil majors to boost investments

New Delhi, Jan 5 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday met here with global oil and gas experts to discuss ways of boosting investments in exploration and skill development at a time of low oil prices.

“The interaction which lasted over two hours also included union ministers Arun Jaitley, Piyush Goyal and Dharmendra Pradhan, Vice-Chairman of NITI Aayog Arvind Panagariya, besides top officials from the government and NITI Aayog,” the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said in a release here.

Among the foreign invitees to the meeting were British oil major BP’s chief executive Bob Dudley, International Energy Agency (IEA) executive director Fatih Birol and Royal Dutch Shell’s director (Projects) Harry Brekelmans.

“The prime minister emphasized his vision for a fresh look at the sector, to bring in investment, technological upgradation, and development of human resource,” the PMO said.

The discussions focused, among others, on subjects such as increasing the share of gas in India’s energy mix, fresh investments in oil and gas exploration in India, regulatory frameworks and international acquisition of oil and gas assets, it added.

“Had a constructive interaction with global experts on Oil & Gas and CEOs of Oil Majors in the presence of Hon’ble Prime Minister,” tweeted Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

“Received CEO of @BP_plc Mr. Bob Dudley. BP already has presence in upstream & downstream sectors in India,” he said.

Meanwhile, urging the government to allow natural gas pricing freedom to existing fields like KG-D6 in the eastern offshore, the Petroleum Federation Of India (PetroFed) has said a capped price equivalent to the imported cost should also be allowed to existing fields.

“The existing Production Sharing Contract provisions regarding gas pricing should be followed in letter and spirit and the gas pricing should be determined on arm’s length basis by competitive market forces,” PetroFed, whose members include state-run ONGC and private players like Reliance Industries, said in their comments on ministry’s consultation paper on a new contractual regime for gas produced from fields awarded in future.

“Such pricing is reflective and responsive to demand-supply dynamics,” PetroFed said in their comments.

“To put a cap on gas price it may be considered permissible up to the maximum of import parity price of LNG in the country,” it added.

In November, the government circulated a consultation paper inviting comments, about easing doing business in exploration that proposed to free domestic natural gas pricing and replace the existing production sharing contract by the revenue-sharing model for all future hydrocarbon acreage auctions.

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