Millennium Post

PM reviews oil, gas production profile of ONGC, OIL

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday reviewed the oil and gas production profile of state-owned ONGC and OIL over the near to medium term to assess how his target to cut oil imports by 10 per cent would be met.

Sources with direct knowledge of the meeting said Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) Chairman and Managing Director Shashi Shanker and Oil India Ltd (OIL) Chairman and Managing Director Utpal Bora gave projections of oil and gas production of their respective companies over the next five-year period.

Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Petroleum Secretary M M Kutty were also present at the meeting, they said.

Modi had in March 2015 called for bringing down India's import dependence on oil and gas to 67 per cent of its requirement by 2022.

He had used 77 per cent oil import dependence in the fiscal year 2013-14 (ending March 31, 2014) as the reference to call for reducing import dependence to 67 per cent by 2022.

Import dependence has, however, increased since then. India's oil import dependence rose to 81.7 per cent in 2016-17 and further to 82.8 per cent in 2017-18. During the April-August period of current 2018-19 fiscal, it has gone up further to 83.2 per cent, according to the Oil Ministry's Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC).

Sources said while crude oil production was projected to rise by a modest level, natural gas output was projected to jump from 24 billion cubic metres per day to 42 bcm.

This was primarily because of ONGC's KG basin gas fields coming into production.

Sources said the government wanted domestic output to be raised and imported oil supplemented by the use of biofuels like ethanol extracted from sugarcane juice.

India's crude oil fell from 36 million tonnes in 2016-17 to 35.7 million tonnes in 2017-18.

Speaking at the 'Urja Sangam' conference in March 2015, the Prime Minister had said if imports, which accounted for a staggering 77 per cent of demand at the time, are cut by 10 per cent by 2022, the country can look to halving it by 2030.

At the meeting, it was highlighted that the government has tweaked the exploration policy regime to offer more flexibility to investors. Exploration companies can now legally exploit unconventional hydrocarbon resources like shale and coal bed methane from fields allotted for harnessing traditional oil and gas.

These measures will result in increased oil and gas production but it will take few years for that to happen, sources said.

ONGC is investing USD 5.07 billion in bringing to production a cluster of discoveries in Bay of Bengal block KG-DWN-98/2 or KG-D5. First gas is expected by December 2019 and oil by March 2021.

The firm is targeting a peak oil output of 77,305 barrels per day (3.8 million tonnes per annum) within two years of the start of production. Gas output is slated to peak to 16.56 million standard cubic metres per day by 2022.

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