Monday, May 23, 2022

Dharmendra Pradhan tells ONGC to develop models for early monetisation of assets

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  • Pradhan also reviewed the progress of blocks awarded to ONGC under the HELP and the OALP bid rounds
  • He stressed on expediting oil exploration activities and reducing commercial production timelines to boost India’s energy security

New Delhi: At a review meeting held on Monday, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan told state-run Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) to develop business models for early monetisation of assets and discoveries. The direction comes in the backdrop of an action plan prepared by the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) for restructuring of ONGC with a view to improve domestic production of crude oil and natural gas. The government has put a lot of focus on reducing India’s dependence on imports for meeting its energy requirements and has said that it is looking to bring in more small and medium companies and large global companies into the exploration and production (E&P) sector. 

At the meeting, Pradhan also asked ONGC to deploy maximum resources towards exploration.

Dharmendra Pradhan reviews progress of ONGC’s HELP/OALP blocks

Pradhan also reviewed the progress of blocks awarded to ONGC under the Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP) and the Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) bid rounds. He stressed on expediting oil exploration activities and reducing commercial production timelines to boost India’s energy security. The DGH has set a production target of 50 billion cubic metres (BCM) of gas and 40 million tonnes (MT) of crude oil by FY24 for oil and gas companies. 

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The backdrop

Apart from asking ONGC to identify assets for monetisation/disinvestment, the government is also set to auction major, idle, unmonetised fields of ONGC. “There will be no DSF next time. Next time, it will be a ‘major’ round (auction of large fields),” Pradhan had said at the launch of bid round-3 of Discovered Small Fields (DSF), as was reported by PSU Watch. According to the DGH’s action plan, the government wants ONGC to take on the role of an ‘enabler’ of growth in the E&P sector. ONGC has been urged to invite E&P companies to join as partners in the blocks operated by them in the NELP regime, for instance, KG-DWN-98/2, KG-OSN-2001/3, Asokenagar, among others. The government has also advised ONGC to hive off drilling and various other services into separate entities.

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