Message here

Essential assurances on the Indian Energy Front

New Delhi: The Oil & Gas Minister, Shri Hardeep Singh Puri, disclosed many significant facts while addressing the heads of oil and gas PSUs and journalists upon taking charge of MOPNG on Tuesday. He stated by saying that for the last three years during which he had been associated with the Ministry the overall “mantra” had been to ensure availability, affordability and sustainability.
On all three fronts, in the midst of a challenging global environment arising out of security challenges in the world and close to home, Russia – Ukraine War the performance has been rather well. India could be the only country in the world where prices have actually come down. He expanded by saying International Crude Prices are not determined by India its mostly determined by the producing countries and the equilibrium or lack of it in demand and supply, during economic and rose to lock down it came down to 19 Dollars and 56 Cents and rose to 128 Dollars and beyond. Supplies were disrupted, despite all the challenges, the prices in India at retail outlets were one of the lowest in the world. Overall, the Oil & Gas PSUs did well. They made about One Lakh and Fifty-Nine Thousand Crores after Tax.

The contribution to the revenue overall would be around 19-20%. He further said that his emphasis, for next phase, was to concentrate on Exploration and Production, Green Hydrogen and what goes with Green Hydrogen, Refinery & Petchem, Ethanol and the Gas Sector. He then gave some bullet points on the current thinking and build on the achievements of last three years. On E&P, rounds Nine & Ten on OELP will be done in the next weeks. For the Western Offshore, ONGC has already floated a tender for a international technology partner and all international Oil & Gas majors having an annual revenue of Seventy Five Billion US Dollars have been invited to participate in the international tender.

For Green Hydrogen, the first Green Hydrogen Plant of 10 Megawatts was commissioned 27th May 2024 even before the election was over. Green Hydrogen Station at Kochi has been commissioned and India is the first country in the world to employ Green Hydrogen Buses. As one gets into Green Hydrogen more, costs will come down. Green Hydrogen plants at Panipat, Mathura and Paradip refineries will be installed by IndianOil soon. As regards, Refineries and Petchem; BPCL is in advanced stage to set up Greenfield Refineries and GAIL is also planning an Ethylene Cracker Unit for Petrochemicals.

BPCL Bina Refinery is coming up and Cauvery Basin Refinery is also coming up by IOCL at Chennai. Regarding Ethanol, in the month of May 15% Ethanol blending could be done. The Prime Minister had set up a Target originally of 20% Ethanol blending by 2030 which was later brought forward to 2025 and Shri Puri said he was reasonably confident that it would be completed. On the Gas Sector front, he said, the Gurdaspur – Jammu sector will be commissioned soon to provide Gas to J&K while Indradhanush Gas Pipleline is ready for supply of Gas to North East.

While the Minister was very reassuring in his address regarding the Oil & Gas Sector most observers would admit it was also quite blasé. In today’s world nothing can be predicted based on what happened in past. Who would have believed that two major wars would go on for so long, right wing extremism would return to Europe, an ex-President of USA, a convicted felon would be a new normal, BJP would again be part of a coalition Government and the whole world would be totally impervious to the obvious signs of global warming. Coming to Oil & Gas the entire sector is passing through a convulsive phase where things are becoming more uncertain by the day. In such a circumstance caution is what is required.

Clear sings have to read and interpreted for what they actually are. Is it not strange that the briefing was totally bereft of the Private Sector Oil & Gas Chieftains? Is MoPNG only for Oil PSUs? We hear off and on that the PSEs will be sold off, if that be so, it’s all the more important that the Private Sector Companies which should get well represented as they would be the future of Oil & Gas business in India. As it is, the Private Sector Oil & Gas giants actually call all the shots now almost independently. From Capacity to unprecedented Profits, earning from exports with minimum exposure to domestic markets barring only the most profitable ones (like Aviation, Marketing of POL in Metros) it’s the Private Sector which in aggressively driving the sector.

In fact, if Oil & Gas PSEs do not get sold to Private Players at below par prices, the next best thing for them is to utilize the infrastructure and capacities of Oil & Gas PSUs even without ownership. The demand from a leading private player for utilizing Storage and Pipeline facilities of PSEs is the most recent salvo. Of course, organizations like PNGRB etc. are there for ensuring the objectives of the private players. They have evolved a brilliant strategy of ensuring least capital expenditure, no long term liability, no burden for nation’s development (remember Private Players do not participate in Ujjwala Yojana), no domestic Marketing/S&D burden, just skim profits and cry out loud on imposition of Windfall Taxes. Be it as it may, the least the mandarins of MoPNG can do is to look at the impending future where the Oil & Gas PSUs would be mere suppliers (basically contractors) for the Private Oil & Gas Companies who would actually be the prime business conglomerates of the energy sector. Is it not true that the world evolves, countries evolve, economies evolve and business ways evolve? Therefore, to associate the Private players, in a more transparent way, should become the norm of recent future. The Private Sector is already playing a significant role in the Energy Sector in India and is poised to do much more due to its forthright ways.

Therefore, such a meeting as was addressed by the Minister yesterday should have both the sectors representation. The babus should desist from trimming the authority and rights of the Minister who is equally the Minster for the Private and Public Sector Oil & Gas Companies.

The Minister has had an excellent track record and is known for his upright and no nonsense approach. He brings to the table, the polished ways of an erudite expert on foreign affairs, which is such a great asset for dealing with matters of Oil & Gas, which is today a truly global business. In his safe hands, India can expect true energy security and global energy democracy.

error: Content is protected !!