Mumbai, Apr 5: Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Murli Deora on Saturday said that the government and oil companies have taken steps to enhance energy security for the country.
Speaking at a seminar on "Opportunities in the Oil and Gas Industry" here, Deora said that the steps being taken included increasing exploration and production activities in the country, acquiring oil and gas assets abroad, strategic storage of crude oil, conservation and implementation of environment friendly policies. Deora also talked about the significant development of the exploration and procurement (E and P) sector with the help of the government's new exploration licensing policy.
"Under NELP, 58 discoveries have been made by public private/ JV companies in 17 blocks. In the first six rounds of NELP, expected investment is of the order of US$8 billion. Oil and oil equivalent gas in place reserve accretion under NELP is approximately 600 million metric tonnes," the Minister informed.
Speaking about the government's desire to promote India as a competitive refining destination, Deora emphasised that this translated into huge opportunities for the capital goods manufacturing companies to enter into this segment of producing equipment catering to exploration and procurement, which is still not manufactured in India.
Deora called upon the industry to enhance their capacities and capabilities so that the oil and gas producers do not have to look outside country for procurement.
"This would be in the interest of the country and also the companies, since they will get faster and better service when need arises", stressed Deora.
"The focus should be on how to become more efficient to continue to meet the demands in upstream, mid stream and downstream," Petroleum Secretary M S Srinivasan said.
He pointed out that about twenty five years ago, India was importer of raw materials but now, with huge projects and investments in oil and petroleum sector, India has started earning from exports.
"State of art pipeline and compressor technology has revolutionalised the importance of natural gas and in the next 10 years natural gas will surpass crude oil. We are forecasting a market of USD 300 billion for exploration equipment manufacturers in the 11th and 12th Plan," Srinivasan stated.
"Today, Western Europe and United States are looking at Indian companies with growing interest since we have the capacity and capability", emphasised Srinivasan.
He beckoned the Indian companies who enjoy tremendous advantage to identify niche areas in the oil and petroleum sector and take up the awaiting opportunities. He specifically invited the SME sector to also become a significant player.
J P Nayak, Chairman, CII National Committee on Capital Goods and Engineering and Member of the Board and President (Operations), Larsen and Toubro Ltd. highlighted the need to strike a balance between the users and suppliers in the industry, the lack of which, was hampering development.
"Inadequate infrastructure, congestion in ports, internal taxation giving rise to high costs and delays in deliveries and impeding threat from Chinese suppliers are some of the disadvantages faced by the industry players," said Nayak.
"For India's growth story to continue, manufacturing sector needs to grow in double digits and growth rates for the sector must increase rapidly. CII, Apex Task Force on Capital Goods has submitted proposals to government for this purpose," Nayak concluded.
C M Venkateshwaran, Deputy Chairman, Process Plant and Machinery Association of India (PPMAI) presented the perspective of the process equipment manufacturers of India.
He said that there were some obstacles to trade like standards and certification, non transparent procurement practices and sanctions.
"Indian capital equipment sector needs the practical support from federal ministries and agencies," he stated.
He also recommended that formulation of manufacturing policy and guidelines in terms of incentive and subsidies, technology development and regulatory reforms would go a long way to make the industry highly efficient.
Raising areas of concern, P D Samudra, Past Chairman, PPMAI, said that continuous gas/oil import dependence, relatively high price of imported oil/gas, high burden of subsides and likely threat of dumping of petrochemicals products required to be addressed.