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‘Post-Brexit UK, India have huge scope for strategic partnership’

India and the UK are “natural allies” and there is huge scope for collaboration between the two strategic partners in the wake of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Monday. The minister highlighted the potential offered by Britain to India, with London as a financial capital and great “centre for technology and innovation”.

“I am hopeful after Brexit also, there is huge scope between India and UK. We are natural allies; we have a strategic relationship. London has its own advantage as a financial capital for majority part of the world,” Pradhan said here on the sidelines of the ‘Road Show on Discovered Small Fields by Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH).

“The Indian market and London’s financial power and technology can be synergised. Two of the UK companies are major players in the Indian market BP and Cairn. They are doing well in India and they are going to invest further in a big way,” he said.

In reference to controversies around historic tax dispute cases involving firms like Cairn Energy in India, he said: “I would quote Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi’s words: ‘Gone are the days’. There is a new regime in India. We are very transparent on all tax issues. There will be no problem in future.

“Specifically, in the case of Reliance (Reliance Industries Limited), its UK partner BP itself said in a public domain in London that there has been no new case in the last two years. Those are our credentials and credibility.” 

Several presentations were made as part of the road show in London today, which concludes Pradhan’s international tour to attract foreign investment after Houston, Calgary, Dubai and Singapore.

His road shows were aimed at highlighting details of policy reforms, the improvements on ease of doing business, the regulatory and tax innovations and the specific attractiveness of the present bid.

“We are offering these oil fields with the ambition to augment our production. There is a paradigm shift in the Indian energy market, primarily in hydro-carbon,” he said.

In line with the Indian government’s aim to reduce import dependency on oil and gas by 10 per cent by 2022, India is offering 46 Contract Areas consisting of 67 small fields across nine sedimentary basins for exploration and production of oil and gas in India under a liberalised policy regime. 

The DGH, the technical arm of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, is inviting bids for these areas which hold 625 million barrels of oil and oil equivalent gas (O+OEG) in-place volumes, spread over 1500 sq km, in 26 on-land, 18 shallow water and 2 deep water areas.

“I am here to extend the Prime Minister s invitation to all please come to India. It is the No 1 FDI [foreign direct investment] destination in the world today. We have taken a lot of initiatives...I would emphasise that ease of doing business is not mere lip service for us,” the minister told oil majors, financiers and service companies.

He also inaugurated a “Data Room” in London through remote access to facilitate investors to access technical data for offered fields, which would be operational from Tuesday. Pradhan will be holding one-to-one meetings with prominent UK industry leaders such as BP, Cairn and Hardy during his London tour this week.

He is also scheduled to meet his UK counterpart, Greg Clarke — Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. 
Aditi Khanna

Aditi Khanna

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