'Gas sector to get more reforms, trading hub'
India plans to bring more reforms in natural gas sector and will build a gas trading hub to aid better price discovery for domestic as well as imported fuel, said Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
Also, the country plans to double the network of pipelines transporting natural gas to 30,000 km in next 3-4 years as part of plans to shift to a gas-based economy to cut greenhouse emissions and reliance on imported oil.
"We are in the process of reforming the gas market in India where you can sell your gas through a gas trading hub," he said at an India Session at the 22nd World Petroleum Congress in Istanbul.
Currently, natural gas in India is sold on the basis of a government-mandated formula that links the local price to rates prevailing in gas-surplus nations. In comparison, most long-term contracts for import of gas are linked or indexed to oil.
The absence of market determined prices has been a big disincentive for companies to invest in gas exploration and production.
Now, the government has begun discussions about building a trading platform, he said but did not give any target date for starting the hub.
New Delhi is committed to cutting a third of its emission by 2030, partly by boosting the use of cleaner burning fuels.
"We are also completing a 30,000 km national gas grid in coming years. We can proudly claim that we have not only brought in policy reforms, but also implemented them," Pradhan said in his speech, a copy of which was released by his ministry here. The minister invited global companies to come and invest in Indian oil and gas sector, which has been thrown open with the Open Acreage Licensing policy allowing investors to choose from 2.8 million square km to explore. While slowdown seems to have become the new norm in global economy, India, on the contrary, has managed to maintain a GDP growth rate of over 7 per cent in the last two years, he said.
"India is marching steadily towards emerging as a leading global economy, aided by several transformational reforms and innovative campaigns by the government," he said.
India, he said, has emerged as one of the most attractive investment destinations with a record $60 billion of FDI inflows in 2016-17 fiscal.
"As India grows and aspires to become a world leader, you must all take note that it represents a robust consumption and a market with ready market access," he said.
Need affordable oil for masses: Pradhan to producing nations
Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has asked oil producing nations to price crude oil at "reasonable" levels to ensure availability of fuel to Indians at affordable rates.
Addressing a plenary session on 'Supply and Demand Challenges for Oil, Gas and Products' at the 22nd World Petroleum Congress in Istanbul, he said the rising middle class of emerging Asian countries like India will drive the demand for energy both in terms of electricity and cooking, and transportation fuel. As incomes rise, demand for petrochemicals - raw materials for several lifestyle products - will also increase, an official statement quoted him as saying.
Giving example of India, he said the energy consumption is expected to almost double by 2035. India, the world's third largest consumer of crude oil, is the only country where the demand will continue to rise for more than a decade, he said.
"He flagged the importance of 'responsible price' for crude oil for countries like India which would allow it to provide energy to the common people," the statement said. The minister also underlined that in today's over supplied market, it is important for producers to understand the perspective of consumers and demand centres and the changes that have taken place in these demand centres.
Like security of supplies is important for consumers, security of demand too is important for producers, he added.
Later, the minister launched an event on Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP) as a part of promoting the upcoming oil and gas bidding rounds in India.
India on July 1 opened 2.8 square km of its sedimentary basins for oil and gas exploration to domestic and overseas investors to increase production and cut excessive dependence on imports.
Under the new policy, any company can access data related to India's hydrocarbon reserves and submit bids for any area it wants to explore.
Open Acreage Licensing policy, as it is called, allows investors to select blocks after studying seismic data available from National Depository Data, without waiting for a formal bid round from the oil ministry.
It promises market prices for oil and gas discovered and produced as well as an investor-friendly revenue sharing regime.
Global primary energy consumption increased by just one per cent in 2016 while the growth of same in India was 5.4 per cent. As per estimates, India is poised to account for one fourth of the incremental global energy demand between 2013 and 2040.
India is the third largest consumer of oil in the world and imports about 80 per cent of its needs, he said adding the government wants to cut down the import dependence by 10 per cent by 2022.
Pradhan said the government has in last three years introduced a series of reforms including giving higher price for gas from difficult fields, reform in production sharing contracts, marketing and pricing freedom for Coal Bed Methane and launching National Seismic programme to complete 2D seismic survey of 52 per cent of remaining sedimentary basins.
"With the world eyeing India's growth closely, I encourage you all to take the first mover advantage, and join hands with us to become partners in the next round of global growth," he told the conference attended by global energy leaders.
Fuel demand up 0.4% in June
India's fuel demand growth slowed to just 0.4 per cent in June as consumption of industrial fuel dipped, government data showed. Fuel consumption in June totalled 16.54 million tonnes (MT) as compared to 16.47 MT in the same month of last year, data from the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell of the Oil Ministry showed. The oil demand growth in June was lower than 6.1 per cent in May and 2.4 per cent in April. Sale of petrol in June soared 11.9 per cent to 2.06 MT while diesel consumption was up 6.5 per cent at 6.79 MT. Cooking gas LPG sales increased 15.9 per cent to 1.87 MT but naphtha sales fell 4.3 per cent to 1.09 MT. Consumption of bitumen, used for making roads, dipped 5.3 per cent to 483,000 tonnes while fuel oil use edged lower by 12.9 per cent to 552,000 tonnes.