Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan asked exploration companies to consider farming out their acreages to global players with advanced technology to expedite development and raise oil and gas output. India, the world’s third biggest oil importer and consumer, depends on foreign purchases for over 80 per cent of its oil needs. The nation’s oil and gas output has been stagnant for years, forcing it to raise reliance on imports to meet rising fuel demand.
“The government will grant petroleum mining lease rights but the companies should consider a farm-out (of a stake) to get global technology players,” Pradhan said in Hindi. Indian exploration companies should work at “exponential speed” to unlock resources, Pradhan said at the production sharing signing ceremony of 11 oil and blocks by state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp and Oil India Ltd.
India’s exploration licensing rounds have so far seen a lukewarm response from global oil majors, with most of the blocks awarded to local companies, mainly ONGC and Oil India. The companies have to reject a “business as usual approach” and adopt a professionally-run “commercially viable and technological friendly” model to boost output, Pradhan said.
He urged Indian exploration companies to function like holding firms and share revenue and profit with their new technical and financial partners. This will also boost the nation’s resources and add to the federal exchequer, he said.