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Oil and gas block auction policy to be ready in current fiscal yr: Govt

Oil Ministry proposes to free natural gas pricing as well as replace the Production Sharing Contract with simpler revenue-sharing regime for all future field auctions.

twitter-logo PTI   New Delhi     Last Updated: November 17, 2015  | 14:32 IST
Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan
Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan (Photo: Reuters)

Government expects to finalise the new policy for auction of oil and gas blocks during the ongoing financial year, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said.

"We have brought this consultation paper and suggestions will come in by November 30. We will make the policy after considering all the views and take it to the Cabinet. It will be our endeavour to make the policy during this financial year only," Pradhan told reporters on the sidelines of Bio-Energy Summit 2015 organised by CII.

On Monday, Oil Ministry had issued a paper on new fiscal and contractual regime for award of hydrocarbon acreages with a view to revive investor interest in oil and gas exploration by simplifying rules.

It proposes to free natural gas pricing as well as replace the controversial Production Sharing Contract (PSC) with simpler revenue-sharing regime for all future field auctions in the backdrop of low gas prices not attracting investors in exploration and production sector.

Global players like BP and domestic companies including RIL as well as state-owned ONGC have been seeking pricing freedom as the current rates make new investments unviable.

"There were suggestion on the issue from institutions like CAG. In order to make new bidding round more progressive, transparent and market friendly, we have brought in this consultation paper," the minister explained.

In September, the government had allowed pricing freedom for the gas produced from 69 small and marginal fields it plans to auction shortly.

On the Indian basket crude oil price cracking below $40 barrel mark to touch $39.89, the minister said, "We have to accept the changing geopolitical scenario of the world. Let's see how things are coming up. But this kind of price is certainly favourable for the Indian market."

While addressing the conference, he made it clear that lower crude prices will not change India's stance on increasing share of renewables sources in its energy mix.

He also indicated that as much as 20 GW of output from bio-energy will be achieved against the envisaged 10 GW under the total renewable energy target of 175 GW till 2022.

On LPG gas subsidy to households, Pradhan said: "There should be a public discourse on the issue whether LPG subsidy should be given to higher income groups. We will take a decision on this."

The government is planning to stop providing LPG subsidy to the consumers whose income is above Rs 10 lakh.

On the issue allowing premium pricing on gas produced from difficult deep-water and ultra deep-water blocks, he said oil and finance ministries will take a decision on the issue after achieving consensus.

Speaking at the same occasion, Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu said: "We are launching our first wind turbine in Jaisalmer by the end of this week. We need to invest in R&D in green power."


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