India, the world’s third largest oil consumer, imports about 82 percent of its crude oil requirements, and meets just 18 percent of its demand through local sources. The Indian Government has introduced several new initiatives, and changed existing policies, with a view to increasing domestic production and hence reducing hydrocarbon imports. The current economic scenario presents India with the opportunity not only to get its policy decision-making processes streamlined for exploration, but also to build up reserves.
According to most reports and estimates, India’s dependency on importing hydrocarbons is likely to deepen, as the already vast middle classes grow in numbers, and consumer demand rises. In order to counter this dependency, the Indian Government has been trying not only to make the operating environment more favourable for oil investment, but also has dedicated efforts towards the ease of doing business, in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s motto of “minimum government, maximum governance”.
NEW POLICY INITIATIVES
To move forward on the target set by Narendra Modi of reducing the nation’s oil import dependency by 10 percent by 2022, several new policy initiatives have been announced. The start was made by the Petroleum Minister, Mr. Dharmendra Pradhan, on 2 September 2015 when he announced the Marginal Fields Policy (MFP), which was accompanied by the auctioning of 67 marginal fields under the Discovered Small Fields (DSF) Licensing Round. The MFP entailed two significant changes; the first was the adoption of a revenue-sharing model, and the second the grant of a single (uniform) license to the successful bidder, enabling the operator to explore and produce by conventional and unconventional means. These two facets of the policy have also formed the basis of subsequent exploration policies. Companies successful in the DSF Round were granted a 20-year license for a field, and will be able to sell gas at the prevailing…