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India sees $100 billion growth in E&P sector amid policy overhaul, ET EnergyWorld

New Delhi: The Indian government has set ambitious targets for the exploration and production (E&P) sector, which aims to attract investments worth $100 billion by 2030, said Oil Minister Hardeep Singh Puri at the inauguration of Urja Varta 2024. This was arranged at the Bharat Mandapam . The inaugural session marked an important step towards India’s journey towards energy self-sufficiency and increased economic growth. During his speech, Minister Puri underlined the critical role played by the E&P sector in achieving these national goals. He emphasized that despite considerable progress, large reserves of crude oil and natural gas within India’s 26 sedimentary basins remained largely underexplored. Currently, only 10% of this potential is being exploited, with plans to increase this to 16% by the end of 2024 through the upcoming Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) rounds.

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Political reforms and investment drive growth

The minister outlined the transformative reforms that have been initiated to catalyze investment in the sector. The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG) has been at the forefront of these changes, which include significant policy adjustments to streamline and simplify operational and regulatory processes. “The government is doing its part to catalyze investment in E&P,” remarked Puri, highlighting the strategic changes that have empowered stakeholders and strengthened the national agenda.

Highlighting the impact of these reforms, Puri pointed to the successful award of 144 blocks covering about 244,007 square kilometers through the first eight OALP bidding rounds. The recently announced ninth round promises to extend this further, offering an area of ​​approximately 136,596 square kilometers across eight sedimentary basins, which aims to expand the country’s footprint in offshore exploration.

Since its inception in 2015, the Discovered Small Field (DSF) policy has also made significant progress, bringing in approximately $2 billion in investment and introducing 29 new players to the field. This initiative has played a crucial role in increasing the pace of exploration activities and opening up new opportunities in the sector.

Scientific exploration and data-driven strategies

In a move to promote scientific and data-driven exploration strategies, the government has set aside Rs 7,500 crore to acquire new seismic data, fund stratigraphic wells and acquire aerial survey data for challenging terrain. “We now have geoscience data for the Kerala-Konkan basin and the Mumbai offshore basin on the west coast, and the Mahanadi and Andaman basins on the east coast,” Puri announced, showcasing the government’s commitment to harnessing technology and data to improve exploration results.

In addition, the Directorate General for Hydrocarbons (DGH) is set to upgrade the national data repository to a cloud-based system. This improvement will enable immediate dissemination of seismic, well and production data, streamlining access and improving the decision-making process for E&P activities.

Streamline operations and improve ease of doing business

Minister Puri also touched upon the government’s efforts to facilitate ease of doing business in the sector. He noted that 37 approval processes had been consolidated and simplified to 18, nine of which are now eligible for self-certification. This reduction in bureaucratic red tape is designed to speed up project approvals and operational start-ups, thereby minimizing delays that have historically hampered the sector.

Recognizing the need for continuous improvement, Puri emphasized, “We need to explore the possibility of extending self-certification across additional processes.” He pointed out the critical nature of reducing delays in the approval of field development plans, annual plans and other regulatory permits, especially as the nation’s dependence on imports continues to increase.

Joint task force to address industry issues

An important announcement by the Minister was the formation of a Joint Working Group (JWG), which includes representatives from private E&P operators, National Oil Companies, MoPNG and DGH. This group is tasked with addressing pressing industry issues and working to further improve the ease of doing business. Puri has directed DGH to complete the integration of its various online portals by the end of the year, a move that promises to improve operational efficiency across the board.

Promote collaboration and innovation

As the two-day event progresses, over 400 delegates, 50 exhibitors and 100 speakers will engage in discussions on a wide range of topics, from improved oil recovery technology to the digitization of the oil and gas sector. The conclave serves as a crucial platform for dialogue, promotion of investment, innovation, partnership and sustainable growth in India’s hydrocarbon sector.

In conclusion, Minister Puri expressed his confidence that Urja Varta 2024 would act as a catalyst for collaboration and innovation in the energy sector, inviting stakeholders from industry, academia and government to leverage this platform to help achieve India’s energy security goals. The event also features an exhibition gallery and an innovation center, highlighting the latest technological advances and sustainable practices in the industry.

  • Published on July 11, 2024 at 18:00 IST

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