NewDelhi:28/6/17;Minister of State (I/C) for Petroleum and Natural gas, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, launched the National Data Repository (NDR) and Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) under the progressive, market driven Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP) of Government of India in New Delhi today.
Speaking at the event, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan said that the launch is a historic occasion in the history of India’s Hydrocarbon Industry. Hon’ble Prime Minister gave the mandate for a modern, progressive, investor friendly world class policy for the next bidding round. He said that with the experience of several litigations and not very encouraging production output from NELP rounds, the Ministry decided not to go for incremental policy change but to have a completely new policy. Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licencing Policy (HELP) is an outcome of this.
Shri Pradhan said that the New India is agile; the New India is enterprising. It is keen to meet investors and eager to adopt new ideas. Our policies are industry friendly and transparent; we have created an enabling environment for industrial investments that has grown at an unparalleled speed in the last few years.
Citing that FDI in India was at the highest level in 2015-16 at a time when the global FDI had fallen, Shri Pradhan emphasized on Government’s efforts to improve ‘Ease of Doing Business’. He said that the recent introduction of the Goods and Services Tax, or the GST, from the 1st of July will be a path breaking step towards good time in Indian business and economic development. HELP, also, will make an equally significant impact, he added.
Exploration and production sector has remained a main focus area for the Government, more so after Hon’ble PM set a target to reduce import dependence by 10% by 2022. Shri Pradhan said that out of 42 Cabinet decisions taken during the last 3 years in O&G sector, 22 are on E&P sector. They range from gas price reform; to 9-points PSC reform; to streamlining CBM sector; to extension of Pre-NELP blocks; to holding DSF rounds etc. These policy decisions have powered the Government to undertake about 10 significant reform measures which will benefit industry participants in the E&P sector. These reforms range from National Seismic Program; to Discovered Small Field Policy; to Reform initiatives for enhancing domestic production such as incentive for production from difficult areas; to HELP and so on, he added.
The Minister said that as much as 52% of India’s sedimentary basins are still unappraised and the last seismic data acquisition of the unappraised sedimentary basins was undertaken by the Government nearly 25 years ago. Thus the National Seismic Program was started last year. At the same time, the Government has also taken up a reassessment of hydrocarbon data of existing sedimentary basins for fresh volume estimation. The Government also came out with policy on Discovered Small Fields, and the first bidding round under DSF has been a resounding success with 44 fields awarded.
The Minister said that the Government is also working proactively on a number of other fronts to make the upstream sector vibrant. On the regulation side, marketing and pricing freedom has been given to operators for blocks awarded under CBM, DSF, difficult areas and HELP policies. The Government is also working on creating necessary supporting infrastructure – work on the National Gas Grid, including Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga, has been fast-tracked.
Shri Pradhan said that the Government is also coming up with new policies on EOR-IOR ; Production Enhancement Contract; Shale Oil & Gas Policy for NELP and Pre-NELP blocks, Next set of PSC Reforms, 2nd Bidding Round under DSF policy, and so on.
The Minister added that the Government remains committed for making sustained and significant efforts to liberalize the sector by simplifying processes, increasing market access and bringing developments in the technology domain with the aim to enhance the efficiency of our oil and gas industry. He said that greater choices for investments in the sector are being offered.
National Data Repository has come forth as an integrated data repository of E&P data of the Indian sedimentary basins, in line with the Digital India initiative of Hon’ble Prime Minister. We expect Open Acreage Licensing to accelerate exploration activities in the country since investors can express their interest in an area which they feel has prospective without waiting for formal bidding.