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To showcase the array of opportunities available in Indian E&P sector, an interactive event titled ‘Investment Opportunities in E&P sector’ was organized by DGH on behalf of Ministry of Petroleum and natural Gas, India on the sidelines of ADIPEC 2021. Speaking at the event, Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Housing & Urban Development Hardeep Singh Puri highlighted that of the 3.5 million sq kms of our sedimentary basins, both inland and offshore, the total amount that has been subjected to exploration and production is only about 0.25 million sq kms.

“We are taking that up from 0.25 to 0.5 million sq. kms and then 1 million sq. Kms. We import around 85 per cent of oil and 55 per cent of gas. The government has decided to step upthe efforts to increase the area under exploration and production,” Mr Puri said. He noted that India’s current per capital consumption compared to the global average is one third. “We are moving from a 3 trillion-dollar economy to 5 trillion-dollar economy just in few years’ time. Our petrol and diesel consumption today compared to pre-COVID is already about 10 per cent higher in petrol and diesel it is around 6 per cent. India will be the key driver of economy as we have very low per capita consumption of energy, which is increasing as we grow from three to five trillion-dollar economy.”

Talking about the transition to green energy and using green hydrogen, the minister said our oil marketing companies will play a big role in this transition. He said that green hydrogen success will come when oil marketing companies use it in their refineries and added that in order to get scale and success in green hydrogen; it will require massive upscaling of the refineries.

Petroleum Minister addressing the gathering
Petroleum Minister addressing the gathering

“While we talk about transition towards green energy, we must keep in mind that we have to keep providing affordable energy to the people of the country. No country, for example can afford to deny electricity to its citizens. We have to make commitment to move from traditional fossil fuel to green energy. When India makes a statement, India means it. When our present Prime Minister changed our approach to climate related issues at Paris, he made a bold statement and after that we walked the talk. If any country has delivered on its Paris commitments, India is certainly one of them and I must say that there are not too many others,” Mr Puri said.

He said that the transition towards green energy has to be done by setting the target and then managing it and by progressively moving towards renewable, nuclear and bio fuels; and India is doing that. He cited the example of ethanol blending which was less than 1 per cent in 2014. “Today it is 8.5 per cent and the Government has set a target of making it 20 per cent by 2025 bringing it forward from earlier target of 2030,” he added.

“With increasing demand of energy in a fast-developing nation like India, we have decided to step up our efforts in E&P in a big way. This road show is intended to drive that message home. India is offering many opportunities in the sector, a transparent and open system, and many incentives. It’s an economic opportunity for which we invite you to partner us and that is also the route to transition to green energy,” added the minister while concluding his address to the International E&P industry captains.

Additional Secretary (Exploration) Amar Nath made a detailed presentation on the policy initiatives and opportunities being offered by the Ministry to enhance the exploration and production in the Indian basins. Highlighting the need of oil and gas, Mr Nath said while the demand for oil is on decline in rest of the world, in India it is in increasing trend. “India imports around 85 per cent of its oil. So, opportunities for domestic oil production will remain for next 20 years to meet its requirements and for gas it is going to increase substantially,” he said.

Additional Secretary (Exploration) making the presentation
Additional Secretary (Exploration) making the presentation

He highlighted the policy initiatives of the government like HELP, no revenue sharing in category-II and III basins, increasing ease of doing business, no royalty and revenue sharing in deep-water areas for initial period and then low rates of royalty, National Seismic Program and offering discovered small fields. He mentioned the vast area of YTD (yet to be discovered) fields. “We intend to speed up and scale up the exploration activities which will provide lot of investment opportunities,” he added. He also spoke about opportunities in OALP rounds and CBM. He invited international players to join hands and vail of the opportunities being offered by the country to enhance its exploration and production of hydrocarbons.

Responding to the query from the moderator, ONGC CMD Subhash Kumar said that things we intend to increase exploration acreages to increase production. “We are bidding for 43 small fields and production enhancement contract model for slightly larger fields. We are also looking at globally successful analogous basins and the players who have got success in such basins. We are reaching out to such successful players one to one basis. We would be very happy to invite other investors also and the efforts are already bearing fruit and we are in successful discussion with few of the parties for some of these areas. We are putting it as a part of strategy and it is a multi-pronged strategy and we are in a way trying to hi-grade our holdings and involve and create an ecosystem where the industry flourishes and there is scope for many to come and work together,” he said.

ONGC Director (Exploration) RK Srivastava highlighted key drivers for partnerships in the country in E&P. He highlighted the opportunities in discovered and YTD areas. “The first key driver is increasing population of the country and increasing energy demand. The current level of oil and gas which is at 30 per cent today is expected to increase to 38 per cent by 2040-45. The second key driver is the positively oriented government policies and operating fiscal regime, which is helping in increasing ease of doing business in the country and facilitating the process of exploration and production at a faster pace,” he said.

Director (Exploration) making the presentation
Director (Exploration) making the presentation

Mr Srivastava also highlighted ONGC initiatives in increasing exploration activities requiring lot of technological interventions and partnership opportunities substantiating it with lot of data. He spoke about ONGC seeking partnerships though various outreach programs, which is another key driver for partnership. “Various rounds of discussions have already been held with major players and are in advanced stage,” he said and elaborated on the areas in basins identified for EOR, opportunities in HP-HP &tight reservoirs, 98/2 in east coast, additional value available in category-I basins and category-II &III offering participation opportunities.

The road show saw large participation of various oil and gas companies.

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