Millennium Post

Pradhan promises US investors more ease in doing India biz

Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Friday promised a "transparent regulatory regime" and greater ease in doing business with India as he promoted auctioning of 46 discovered oil and gas fields in a roadshow here. These fields, discovered by Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd (ONGC) and Oil India LTD (OIL), are envisaged to be put on production through expeditious efforts.

As many as 50 international oil related companies, including Magna Energy, BP, IHS Energy, Texas Oil & Gas Technology, Nabors, McDermott, Reliance Exploration and Production DMCC, KPMG, Halliburton, Joshi Technologies International, Vega Energy, Schlumberger attended the roadshow in Houston.

The Houston roadshow comprised extensive and detailed presentations and one-on-one meetings with the companies. Companies such as BG, Cairn Energy, ONGC, RIL shared their successful experience of working in the Indian exploration and production (E&P) sector.

Promising a "transparent regulatory regime" and greater ease of doing business, the minister in his plenary address said that, "we recognise that the need of the hour is to increase the domestic energy production by unlocking India's hydrocarbon potential." 

Easy regulatory administration, pricing freedom for crude oil and natural gas produced from new fields in a transparent manner to further promote oil and gas assets across the country, he said. In fact, the current bid round is also being held under revised set of industry friendly bid guidelines and processes with the Discovered Small Fields Policy acting as the regulatory framework.

Under the bid round, 67 fields in 46 contract areas, across 9 sedimentary basins are being offered to potential investors through International Competitive Bidding in the oil and gas producing basins. Of these 67 fields, 36 are located in offshore areas and 31 fields are in on land basins. The fields have estimated 625 Million Barrels of Oil and Oil Equivalent Gas in-place volumes, and are spread over 1500 square kilometers in 26 on land, 18 shallow water and 2 deep water areas.

Assuring the packed hall of attendees, that included heads of major energy companies, think tanks, analysts, Indian Americans with interest, oil lobbyist, diplomats and various technologists, Pradhan promised all possible support from his Ministry and the Government of India in fructifying investors endeavours.

"The bid timelines are stringent and my team is geared to ensure a smooth process. I look forward to an encouraging participation in the bidding from you all. We have also setup a facilitation cell for assisting you throughout the bid process," he concluded his speech amidst loud cheers and applause.

Earlier in the week, Russia offered Indian oil companies a stake in the second phase of Yamal LNG, the biggest project to produce liquefied natural gas in the Arctic. The offer of stake in JSC Yamal LNG was made when Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan visited St. Petersburg last month, sources privy to the development said.

Petronet LNG, India's biggest natural gas importer, is studying the offer, they said adding other state-owned firms like Indian Oil Corp (IOC) may join in later. Novatek OJSC, Russia's second-biggest natural gas producer, had in 2013 offered a 9 per cent stake in the USD 27 billion Phase-I of Yamal LNG project to a consortium of Petronet, IOC and ONGC Videsh Ltd. 
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