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Govt will auction ONGC, OIL’s major unmonetised fields, bring in private players: Pradhan

Dharmendra Pradhan has said that there will be no DSF auction next time because the government has plans to auction ‘major’ idle, unmonetised fields of ONGC, OIL

Govt will auction ONGC, OIL’s major unmonetised fields, bring in private players: Pradhan
Govt will auction ONGC, OIL’s major unmonetised fields, bring in private players: Pradhan
  • Pradhan said that companies cannot sit on resources, that they have discovered, indefinitely

  • DGH has the full mandate to identify major unmonetised fields that could be auctioned, said the minister

New Delhi: Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan has said that there will be no auction of discovered small fields (DSF) next time because the government has plans to auction ‘major’ idle, unmonetised fields of Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Oil India Ltd (OIL) to boost domestic production of oil and gas. Launching round-3 of DSF, Pradhan said that companies cannot sit on resources, that they have discovered, indefinitely. Speaking on the occasion, both Pradhan and Petroleum Secretary Tarun Kapoor urged ONGC and OIL to bring in private players, both big and small, for partnership in order to increase domestic production of crude oil and gas.

“There will be no DSF next time. Next time, it will be a ‘major’ round (auction of large fields),” Pradhan said. He added that the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) has the full mandate to identify major unmonetised fields that could be auctioned.

‘Chalti ka naam Gaadi attitude cannot go on’

The minister said that if state-run companies do not monetise discovered fields, then the government will have to bring in new entities to monetise them. “Resources do not belong to a company. They belong to the nation and the government. They cannot lie with a company indefinitely. If somebody cannot monetise them, we will have to bring a new regime,” said Pradhan.

Taking a jibe at the lackadaisical attitude prevalent in government-run companies, the minister said, “This ‘Chalti ka naam gaddi’ attitude cannot go on if India is to become Atmanirbhar. We need to take bold decisions. Idle, unmonetised resources, especially with state-owned companies, need to be monetised.” 

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“Our objective to maximise production. So, we have to look at all options available. For a nation that imports around 85 percent of its oil requirements, we cannot have a situation where fields are lying with some for a long time and are not being developed,” he said.

ONGC should bring in big & small private players: Petroleum Secretary

The Petroleum Secretary urged Indian oil companies in both public and private sector to bring in smaller players to create a diverse E&P ecosystem and increase domestic production of oil and gas. “Bigger companies, like ONGC, should spend a little more money and give more attention to exploration, detailed surveys and the data which is available with DGH, and undertake more exploratory drilling. Certain discoveries they can do on their own. But there are other discoveries that they cannot do on their own. So, bigger players, in both the public and the private sector, need to take along smaller players with them. They have take the lead in developing the ecosystem. We want large international players in the sector, large domestic players and at least 25-30 small Indian players who have the competence and the financial backing to take on projects.”

“And with increased interest in the upstream sector, we are sure that domestic production will go up,” said Kapoor.

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