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‘New exploration policy to energise hydrocarbon sector’

‘New exploration policy to energise hydrocarbon sector’
Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Friday said, the new hydrocarbon exploration and licensing policy will augur a new era in the hydrocarbon sector in the country. Briefing media in New Delhi Pradhan said, “A major paradigm shift has been effected in the hydrocarbon sector for the first time since independence.”  

The minister said, “The government has taken many path-breaking measures in petroleum and hydrocarbon sector in the last 20 months. The new policy is also aimed at enhancing and ensuring transparency in administration of Hydrocarbon Sector. 

“The policy will enhance domestic oil and gas production, bring substantial investment in the sector and generate sizable employment. The policy is in tune with Government’s policy of Minimum Government and Maximum Governance.” Also present at the media-briefing, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, Col Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore said, “Media plays the crucial role of taking government schemes to rural population.” 

Meanwhile, Pradhan also said that the limitations of New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) have been addressed in the new Hydrocarbon Exploration & Licensing Policy.  “Under the new policy, Government will not be concerned with the cost incurred and is in tune with the policy of ease of doing business,” he said. The policy provides for lower royalty rates compared to NELP, he added. 

The minister said, “Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana will empower women from BPL Households and connections will be given in the name of women beneficiaries. He said that identification of BPL families will be made in consultation with State Governments and Union territories.”

HELP has been introduced as an attempt to replace NELP (New Exploration Licensing Policy) which had been shunned for not being adequately helpful post being in effect for two decades, said Pradhan. Indian basins are relatively unexplored. HELP which is accessible to all hydrocarbon resources, entails open acreage enabling operators to choose specific blocks where they have competitive advantage. The aforesaid features along with providing pricing freedom would entice global majors to the sector, said the oil minister.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet on Thursday approved extending licences of 28 small- and medium-sized oil and gas fields, but there was no decision on Cairn India’s prolific Rajasthan oil block. Production sharing contracts (PSCs) for as many as 28 fields, including western offshore Panna/Mukta and Tapti oil and gas fields operated by BG Group of UK, are due for extension. 

“The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs today approved the Hydrocarbon Exploration Licensing Policy, or HELP, extending term of 28 PSCs,” Pradhan had said. PSCs have been extended till economic life of the asset.
Tania Ameer

Tania Ameer

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