Joint group formed for reforms in E&P sector: Puri

Published - July 11, 2024 10:43 pm IST - HYDERABAD

Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri addressing the first edition of UrjaVarta 2024 in Delhi on Thursday.

Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri addressing the first edition of UrjaVarta 2024 in Delhi on Thursday. | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Petroleum Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said a joint working group (JWG) has been constituted to improve ease of doing business in the oil exploration and production (E&P) sector. The JWG consists of private exploration and production operators, national oil companies, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH).

Mr. Puri said?37 approvals have been simplified into 18, with nine eligible for self-certification. He said the government recognises the need for further reforms.?“We must explore feasibility of expanding self-certification across additional processes,” he said, citing how reducing delay in approval of field development and annual plans; and regulatory permissions is crucial amid India’s rising import dependency.

$100 billion investment

Underscoring the importance of E&P in achieving energy self-sufficiency and sustaining economic growth, Mr. Puri said the sector offers investment opportunities worth $100 billion by 2030.

Mr. Puri highlighted the vast potential of India’s 26 sedimentary basins, containing substantial reserves of crude oil and natural gas yet to be fully tapped, the Ministry said in a release on his address.

“Despite substantial progress, only 10% of our sedimentary basin area is under exploration today. After the award of blocks under the forthcoming Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) rounds, it will increase to 16% by end-2024.”

Eyeing more acreage

By 2030, “we intend to increase India’s exploration acreage to 1 million sq km,” the Minister told the conclave, organised by the DGH, seeking to unlock India’s untapped upstream hydrocarbon resources sustainably.

Elaborating on the need to streamline operational and regulatory processes, Mr.Puri said “the government is doing its part to catalyse investments in E&P. The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has instituted sweeping reforms, empowering stakeholders to contribute to our nation’s progress. ‘No- Go’ areas in India’s EEZ (exclusive economic zone) have been reduced by almost 99%.”

A total of 144 blocks covering approximately 244,007 sq km have been awarded through the first 8 OALP bid rounds, while recently announced OALP IX round offers an area of approximately 136,596 sq km spread over eight sedimentary basins with the vision of expanding India’s footprint in offshore exploration, he said.

Since its inception in 2015 the Discovered Small Field (DSF) Policy has garnered investments worth $2 billion and brought in 29 new players in the field.

Also, as the government promotes data-driven exploration, ?7,500 crore is going into the acquisition of new seismic data, including for the EEZ, financing stratigraphic wells and acquiring aerial survey data for difficult terrains. “We now have geo-scientific data for the Kerala–Konkan basin and the Mumbai offshore basin on the West coast and the Mahanadi and the Andaman basins on the East coast”, Mr.Puri said. Referring to the upgradation of the National Data repository to a cloud-based NDR by DGH, he said it will enable instant dissemination of seismic, well and production data.

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