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India’s crude oil output dips again in Nov. What does it say about Atmanirbhar Bharat?

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  • ONGC’s Eastern offshore oilfields and Andhra Pradesh onshore fields and Cairn Vedanta’s Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh oilfields have registered sharpest decline in production

  • With a fast-growing market, India’s crude oil import bill is slated to rise further if domestic crude oil production does not pick up

New Delhi: India’s crude oil output declined by 5 percent in November on account of a sharp decline in production from ONGC’s Eastern offshore oilfields (30.78 percent) and Andhra Pradesh onshore fields (13.42 percent) and Cairn Vedanta’s Rajasthan (9.6 percent) and Andhra Pradesh oilfields (17.43 percent), official data showed on Tuesday. The oil field in Rajasthan’s Barmer Basin operated by Cairn Vedanta has been at the centre of a dispute between the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Vedanta over $500-million dues payable by the latter to the Centre and has seen its oil production drop by a fifth in the last two years. 

In addition, other oilfields that recorded a significant decline in output in November include the Gujarat offshore oil fields (21.32 percent) operated by the private sector. Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given a clarion call for Atmanirbhar Bharat, India’s domestic crude oil production has witnessed a consistent decline, increasing the country’s dependence on imports. India currently imports 85 percent of its total crude oil requirement.

Overall crude oil production in Nov misses target by 7.25%

Crude oil production during November was 2,486.01 TMT, which was 7.25 percent lower than the target. The cumulative crude oil production during April-November was 20,426.50 TMT, which was 5.28 percent lower than the target for the period and 5.98 percent lower when compared to the corresponding period of the last year.

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Shifting towards gas-based economy as crude oil output declines

India’s declining crude oil production is a matter of concern since India’s crude oil import bill stands at Rs 8 lakh crore. With a fast-growing market, this is slated to rise further if domestic crude oil production does not pick up. Earlier in December, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan had said that it would be a matter of strategy for India to import either crude oil or liquefied natural gas (LNG), hinting that the idea to shift towards gas economy could have been crafted to meet the twin needs for shifting to comparatively cleaner fuel while bringing down India’s dependence on crude oil imports. “We are keen to develop alternative energy and have made $20 billion capital investments with 1,500 plans under various stages of execution. Meeting demand is not a concern but a challenge. We will choose a de-carbonised pathway,” Pradhan had said. He had added in line with that strategy, the Centre is keen on increasing the share of natural gas in India’s energy mix. India currently imports over 50 percent of its natural gas requirements.

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