India seeks petroleum assessment, more E&P

India is considering ways to boost assessment of its oil and gas potential and is working to lower bureaucratic impediments to exploration and production.

M. Veerappa Moily, the minister of petroleum and natural gas, described the efforts in a speech at a conference of newspaper editors at which he disclosed a goal of Indian energy independence by 2030.

The goal is ambitious. In the fiscal year 2011-12, when oil consumption increased 5% to 148 million tonnes, India imported 172 million tonnes of crude oil and produced 38 million tonnes, according to the petroleum ministry’s Economic Division. The country exported 60.84 million tonnes of petroleum products and imported 15 million tonnes.

Moily said the petroleum ministry has formed a committee to “prepare a roadmap for enhancing domestic production of oil and gas and sustainable reduction in import dependency by 2030.” Chaired by Vijay Kelkar, a former petroleum and economics official of the Indian government, the committee will pursue assessment of all the country’s sedimentary basins by 2025, development of a domestic exploration and production service industry, acquisition of acreage abroad, development of a gas transportation to establish a “countrywide marketplace,” and other steps.

The committee is to make a report in 6 months.

Moily also said representatives of the ministry he leads have met with counterparts at the Ministry of Defense, which has restricted activity on many oil and gas blocks on grounds of national security.

“We are very close to resolution based on the principle of coexistence of both national and energy security requirements,” Moily said.

The government’s Cabinet Committee on Investments, a group set up to expedite large delayed projects in all industries, has cleared five of seven exploration blocks in a restricted area, he reported. A further 31 blocks “are also being considered for approval very soon,” he said.

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