Kapil Dev Tripathi takes over as oil & natural gas secy
Senior IAS officer Kapil Dev Tripathi on Friday took over as the new Oil Secretary, coming in at a time when the sector is witnessing a lot of churning.
An officer of the Assam-Meghalaya cadre of 1980 batch, Tripathi after assuming office this afternoon met senior ministry officials. Besides officials of the ministry, executives of oil PSUs also came to greet the new secretary, official sources said. Over the next few days, Tripathi, who turns 57 in June, will take presentations on functioning of the ministry and facets of the oil and gas sector.
Tripathi, also an MBA, replaced Saurabh Chandra, who superannuated after 14-months tenure on Thursday. Tripathi, who also holds a masters degree in Physics, was Secretary, Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises since October 1, 2014, prior to his new appointment. He comes in at a time when the ministry on the one hand is facing arbitration and court cases on multiple issues and on the other trying to ease red-tape and procedures to enable more oil and gas is produced. Tripathi will superannuate in June 2018 and as Oil Secretary will have to overseas Prime Minister Narendra Modi's target for the ministry to reduce the nation's import dependence by 10 per cent to 67 per cent.
India imported crude oil worth $112.74 billion (Rs 6.8 lakh crore) in 2014-15. While the country is self-sufficient in refining (turning crude oil into fuel), domestic crude oil production of 37.5 million tonness barely meet 23 per cent of the demand. Tripathi's first task will be to restore investor confidence that has been shattered by policy paralysis and regulatory uncertainty of past and several disputes. His litmus test would be the new government’s licensing round for oil and gas blocks, dates for which have so far not been finalised.