Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 15, 2018, will brainstorm with chief executives of top global and Indian oil and gas companies on emerging energy scenario, with ripples from US sanctions on Iran and volatile oil prices threatening growth.
Modi’s first meeting was on January 5, 2016, where suggestions for reforming natural gas prices were made. More than a year later, the government allowed higher natural gas price for yet-to-be-produced fields in difficult areas like the deep sea.
In the last edition in October 2017, suggestions were made for giving out equity to foreign and private companies in producing oil and gas fields of state-owned ONGC and OIL. But the plan could not go through in view of strong opposition from Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC).
The meeting, coordinated by the NITI Aayog, is likely to focus on challenges posed by volatile oil prices and the US sanctions on Iran. The meeting would look at measures to attract investments and steps for making it easier to do business in India.
The government is looking at private investment to raise domestic oil and gas production, which has stagnated for the last few years while fuel demand has been rising by 5-6 percent annually. India is dependent on imports to meet 83 percent of its demand and more than half of its natural gas requirements.
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The Prime Minister in 2015 had set a target of reducing India’s oil dependence by 10 percent to 67 percent (based on import dependence of 77 percent in 2014-15) by 2022. Import dependence has only increased since then and the government is now looking for ways to raise domestic output.
Also likely to attend the meeting are ONGC Chairman and Managing Director Shashi Shanker, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) Chairman Sanjiv Singh, GAIL India head B C Tripathi, Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) Chairman Mukesh Kumar Suran, Oil India Chairman Utpal Bora and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) Chairman D Rajkumar