India’s national exploration and production (E&P) major, ONGC Limited, has established 230-million tons of crude oil reserves over the last three years, according to a statement placed before Parliament by Oil and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
He said that following the new discoveries, ONGC currently had in-situ reserves estimated at 459.84-million tons, across 16 assets, spread across the country.
The State-run E&P major produced 21.11-million tons of crude oil during the 2018/19 financial year, ended March 31, 2019, taking its cumulative crude oil production over the last three financial years to 65.66-million tons.
Pradhan informed Parliament that the government had constituted a committee to prepare a roadmap to reduce the country’s crude oil import dependency by 10% by 2021/22 from about 80% at present.
He informed that the committee has suggested a five-pronged strategy comprising of increasing domestic production of crude oil, promoting energy efficiency and conservation measures, giving thrust to demand substitution, capitalizing untapped potentials in bio-fuels and alternative energy and implementation of higher efficiencies in crude oil refineries.
“Also, early monetisation of discoveries is being targeted by extending fiscal incentives and natural gas production incentivisation through marketing and pricing freedom to investors collaborating with national E&P companies, and private investment participation for the introduction of latest production enhancement technologies in nominated oil and natural gas fields,” Pradhan said.
Meanwhile in a related development, Pradhan last week ruled out the government merging State-run oil exploration and refining companies. “At present there is no proposal to merge State-run oil and gas entities under consideration of the ministry,” he said in a reply in Parliament.
This comes in the wake of ONGC last year acquiring government stakes in refining companies like Hindustan Petroleum, Indian Oil and Bharat Petroleum and also expressing plans to pick up a government equity stake in gas infrastructure and logistics company GAIL.
The then Finance Minister last year said that, “through consolidation, mergers and acquisitions, the merged company would have the capacity to bear higher risks, avail economies of scale, and take higher investment decisions and be able to match the performance of international companies”.