India seeks investors for oil and gas fields

Abu Dhabi: India is seeking investments to develop its small oil and gasfields as demand for oil goes up in the country, a senior official from India’s ministry of petroleum and natural gas said in an interview. The fields, numbering 67, are located across various parts of India including in Assam, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu, according to K.D. Tripathi, secretary in India’s Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

“These are both onshore and offshore oilfields and are ready to be developed with minimum risk. We are inviting investors to bid for these fields which have a potential to produce 625 million barrels of oil. “The bidding process is going to be transparent and is open to investors from any country. There is no signature bonus and no prior experience is required to develop these fields,” he told Gulf News by phone, after a meeting with potential investors in Dubai on Tuesday.

India imports most of its oil with slightly more than 20 per cent of its requirement being produced locally. The country’s current production is about 37 million metric tonnes produced by national oil companies and private firms like Reliance Petroleum and Cairn India.

“The demand for oil is growing in India. Our total requirement of crude oil was 225 million metric tonnes last year and about 78 per cent of that is imported with Gulf countries contributing the most. With drop in prices, the country has been benefiting immensely,” Tripathi said. “Our national oil companies and refining companies are paying less to import oil and oil related products. It has been helping in the growth of the economy.”

According to the Indian embassy in Abu Dhabi, the volume of oil imported rose by 25 per cent in 2015-16 over the previous year, the value of imports fell to $7.9 billion in 2015-16 compared to $13.6 billion in the previous financial year largely due to a decline in crude oil prices during that period.

Tripathi who is accompanied by other senior officials from the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, will be visiting Das Island in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday to see the oil facilities being managed by Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc).

They are also planning to hold discussions with Adnoc officials on oil storage in India’s strategic petroleum reserves. Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) has showed keen interest on taking storage facilities at the Mangalore facility on the west coast of India when His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, visited India in February this year.

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