Indians trying to woo oil and gas players

A HIGH-LEVEL Indian delegation met last week with major players from the oil and gas sector in an effort to drum up exploration and investment interest in India’s oil and gas sector.

Indian Federal Minister for Petroleum and Gas Ram Naik, along with several key Indian ministers, launched the New Exploration and Licensing Policy IV at a seminar held in Perth on June 26.

The ministers also held individual meetings with major companies on day two of the event.

Perth was the fourth and final stop of the road show that had previously visited London; Calgary in Canada; and Houston in Texas.

The Perth leg of the roadshow was attended by delegates from 38 companies including BHP Billiton, Chevron Texaco, Woodside Energy and Santos Limited.

On offer are 24 oil and gas exploration blocks comprising 12 deepwater blocks, 11 land blocks and one shallow block that have been launched on the back of major oil discoveries in India last year.

In highlighting the potential gains for oil and gas companies, Mr Naik referred to the discovery last year by a consortium involving Indian firm Reliance Industries and Canadian firm Niko Resources Ltd in the Krishna Godovari basin.

Mr Naik said this discovery had changed industry perceptions about the potential for oil and gas discoveries in India.

“It has been the biggest discovery in the world in the last year so far as gas is concerned,” he said.

The block was awarded to the Reliance and Niko consortium under the Indian Government’s New Exploration Licensing Policy, round one bidding.

Mr Naik said there had been a total of 16 discoveries by private operators in the Krishna Godavari basin on the east coast of India in the past three years.

The Indian Government is hoping to attract bids from major oil and gas companies as demand in India’s energy sector grows.

Mr Naik said there was huge demand for oil and gas in India, highlighted by the fact that India is importing up to 70 per cent of its hydrocarbon requirements.

He said the government had adopted a comprehensive approach to tackle concerns regarding the energy sector and the offering of exploration blocks was part of that approach.

“Now we will be giving 94 blocks in a short period of four years,” Mr Naik said. 

“Compared with that, in the previous 10 years only 22 blocks were given.”

He said the investment potential for Australian companies was substantial.

“After oil is produced they [the companies] can sell it in India at commercial prices,” Mr Naik said.

“There is no price control. Up to this time there was price control in India that has been dismantled from April 1 2002.”

He also highlighted the strong trade and economic relationship between India and Australia.

The closing dates for bids is September 30.

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