Mumbai, Mar 21 (UNI) Petroleum Minister Murli Deora today expressed satisfaction that despite the continually rising prices of crude oil in the world, UPA Government has not passed the burden on to the common man by increasing the prices of petroleum products in line with international prices.
Addressing a gathering after giving away the first PetroFed Oil and Gas Industry awards, Mr Deora said the price of kerosene used by the common man under the public distribution system has not been increased. Even the price of domestic cooking gas, has been only marginally increased in five years despite the substantial escalation in international prices.
He said the prices of petrol and diesel were also increased marginally in the recent past after two consecutive reductions in prices.
Mr Deora said energy efficiency improvement and energy conservation have to be given highest priority and there is tremendous scope to work in both these areas.
The Minister stated that stability in prices in the country should not lead to increase in consumption by the people. With price of crude oil reaching 100 dollars per barrel in the international market, petroleum products have to be used economically and effectively.
Speaking about the Government's initiatives under the New Exploration Licensing policy (NELP), he said before implementation of NELP, only 11 per cent of the Indian sedimentary basins were under exploration.
So far under NELP regime, 49 oil and gas discoveries had been made in 15 blocks which have added more than 600 million metric tonnes of oil equivalent hydrocarbon reserves. These include gas discovery by Reliance Industries and NIKO resources in KG basin.
At the conclusion of six rounds of NELP, 162 production sharing contracts have been signed and the area under exploration has increased four times. During the 11th plan, the area under exploration has been targeted as 80 per cent of the Indian sedimentary basins area. By 2015, it is targeted to have 100 per cent of the basin area under exploration.
Mr Deora informed that the seventh round of NELP has been launched and is expected to attract good bidding for 57 blocks on offer by the closing date of April 25. These include 19 blocks in deep water, nine in shallow waters and 29 on land.
UNI MR NM BJR DB1841