PM Modi meets top officials of global oil companies, talks investment
New Delhi, Oct 9: Prime Minister Narendra Modi brainstormed with CEOs of top global and Indian companies, including BP of the UK, Russia's Rosneft, Saudi Aramco and Reliance Industries, on ways to revive investment in oil and gas exploration and production.
Modi met BP Plc Chief Executive Bob Dudley, Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, Royal Dutch Shell's Project and Technology Director Harry Brekelmens, Saudi Aramco CEO Amin H Naseer, Exxon Mobil President for Gas and Power Rob Franklin, RIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani and Vedanta Resources head Anil Agarwal for over two hours to discuss the global oil and gas scenario. The main theme of the meeting, sources said, was to seek investment in exploration and production, processing, transportation and distribution network in oil and gas.
The Niti Aayog made a short presentation on the status, the likely scenario of demand and supply by 2030 and current government policies. This is the second meeting Prime Minister had with CEOs of oil majors. His first meeting was in January 2016 where suggestions for reforming natural gas prices were made. More than a year later, the government allowed higher natural gas price for yet-to-be-produced fields in difficult areas like deep sea. The government is looking at private investment to raise domestic oil and gas production, which has stagnated for the last few years while fuel demand has been rising by 5-6 per cent annually.
India is dependent on imports to meet its 80 per cent of the demand and more than half of its natural gas requirements. The prime minister in 2015 had set a target of reducing India's oil dependence by 10 per cent to 67 per cent (based on import dependence of 77 per cent in 2014-15) by 2022. Import dependence has only increased since then and the government is now looking for ways to raise domestic output. OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo and Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan also attended the meeting.
Former oil secretaries Vivek Rae and Vijay Kelkar were also invited for the meeting. Pradhan told the gathering that the liberalised India offers around USD 300 billion investment opportunity in the next 10 years in the oil and gas sector. "We want investors, both domestic and global, who can bring in the best technology and capital," he said. The government is devising policies to increase share of gas in the energy basket to 15 per cent from 7 per cent. "We are planning a gas trading exchange and making sure there is open access to the gas grid. Global experience in this area would be useful," he stated.
According to Pradhan, in the last 40 months, the government has taken several policy initiatives in the energy sector in line with the prime minister's vision of energy access, efficiency, sustainability and security. Also present at the meeting were ONGC Chairman and Managing Director Shashi Shanker, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) Chairman Sanjiv Singh, GAIL India head B C Tripathi, Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) Chairman Mukesh Kumar Suran, Oil India Chairman Utpal Bora and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) Chairman D Rajkumar.