India explores for crude oil on sweeter terms after end of Iran oil waiver

Source:, Apr 23, 2019

New Delhi: India is trying to leverage its robust ties with West Asian crude oil producers such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to source additional volumes at terms similar to those of its annual contracts in a bid to avert any sharp rise in its domestic oil prices.

India, the world’s third-largest oil importer, is in discussions with oil producers in West Asia as well as in other geographies to procure a total of about 15 million tonnes of extra crude over the year to urgently bridge a supply gap that will be caused by the exit of Iran from its energy basket.

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo on Monday announced that the Donald Trump administration would no longer grant exemptions to some countries to import Iran oil with the conditional waiver set to expire on 2 May.

India’s attempt to boost crude supplies from the Gulf nations also comes at a time when they plan to increase their investments in India. Read the rest of this entry »

ONGC eyes upstream linked power generation, refining projects abroad

Source:, Mar 27, 2019

Mumbai: State-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd (ONGC) plans to leverage its units, ONGC Tripura Power Co. Ltd (OTPC), Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd (HPCL), and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL), to win upstream linked electricity generation and refining projects overseas, said a senior company executive. The move is likely to help boost India’s energy security.

India is likely to continue to depend on fuel imports as domestic production has been unable to cope with rising demand. ONGC, which accounts for 73% of India’s oil and gas output, acquired the government’s stake in HPCL for ₹36,915 crore last year.

ONGC has, however, been facing concerns over its production performance. Its gas output grew 6.6% in the third quarter as compared to the corresponding period in the last fiscal, even as crude oil production fell around 5%. The government recently asked ONGC and Oil India Ltd to sell 66 of their small oil and gas fields to private firms.

“If there is a refining-linked upstream opportunity, we will explore it. We wouldn’t be doing a stand-alone refining play. We are open to it,” said the ONGC official mentioned above, requesting anonymity. Read the rest of this entry »

Far from reducing imports, India’s oil and gas production has slumped

Source: Business Standard, Feb 2019

At an energy conference in New Delhi in March 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had set out a road map for reducing India’s crude oil imports by 10 per cent by 2022. This at a time when almost 77 per cent of the country’s fuel requirements were met via imports.

Four years later, the “2022 dream” appears to be a distant reality. The share of imports, in fact, increased to 81.7 per cent in 2016-17, 82.9 per cent in 2017-18 and 84.7 per cent in 2018-19, according to the latest available government data.

This is despite the ministry of petroleum and natural gas (MoPNG) taking all possible policy measures — including steps to ramp up production, reforming the Hydrocarbon Exploration Licensing Policy, or HELP, and taking a series of de-bottlenecking measures in NELP, or New Exploration Licensing Policy, and pre-NELP regimes. Read the rest of this entry »

ONGC to bid out 54 fields to private sector companies in six months

Source: Business Standard, Feb 20, 2019

New Delhi: State-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Oil India (OIL) are likely to come out with bids offering their fields to private sector companies in the next six months.

At least 54 fields included in the initial list belong to the country’s largest oil and gas producer ONGC. The Union Cabinet allowed the two oil companies to bring in private sector players for increasing production, through introduction of new technology.

“The enhanced production profile ONGC and OIL are working on include about 113 fields. Of this, we have enhanced oil recovery or improved oil recovery plans for at least 50 per cent of the fields. The remaining will become part of this policy. They comprise 2-3 per cent of the existing production of these companies,” said an official, who did not want to be named.

More than five fields of OIL are likely to be on offer. The two companies will soon appoint a consultant and the modalities of bidding will be worked out based on its report. Read the rest of this entry »

Govt clears reform to enhance domestic oil and gas exploration

Source: Business Standard, Feb 20, 2019

New Delhi: The Union government on Tuesday decided to offer the private sector bigger oil and gas areas that belong to its companies Oil and Natural Gas Corporation and Oil India on relaxed conditions.

“To enhance production from existing nomination fields of ONGC and OIL, enhanced production profile will be prepared by both PSUs. For production enhancement, bringing new technology, and capital, national oil companies will be allowed to induct private sector partners,” said a government press release. Read the rest of this entry »

India becomes top buyer of Venezuelan crude in February, imports jump 66%

Source: Business Standard, Feb 16, 2019

India is feasting on Venezuelan oil, after the US imposed a de facto ban on crude imports from the Latin American nation.

While flows to the US came to a halt, India became the No. 1 buyer of Venezuelan crude in the first half of February, with imports jumping 66 per cent to 620,000 barrels a day. Indian refiners Reliance Industries and Nayara Energy, which is backed by Rosneft Oil Co PJSC, are driving the boost. Read the rest of this entry »

Big energy deals likely during Prince Salman’s visit

India and Saudi Arabia are expected to sign mega deals in energy and infrastructure to put meat in strategic partnership when the Gulf kingdom’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, visits New Delhi on February 19-20.

On his maiden trip to India as the Crown Prince, Salman is expected to announce investment proposals in key sectors as Saudi Arabia aims to increase its economic footprints in India that currently remain low, people familiar with the matter indicated to ET.

India will try to impress on the Crown Prince to reduce the Asian premium on crude oil imported by India, which if Riyadh agrees to will help the government keep fuel prices stable in an election season, one of the people said. He is also travelling to China, Malaysia and Pakistan in his maiden Asian trip in his current capacity, as Saudi aims to create global footprints and keep economy well oiled.

Saudi Arabia’s investments in India remain relatively low despite its financial clout and the upward trajectory of Indo-Saudi political ties. But Riyadh is planning to invest in India’s energy sector in a big way. India and Saudi are expected to deepen strategic partnership in areas including security, counter-terror, defence and economy.

Saudi Aramco, the national petroleum company, signed a $44-billion deal in April 2018 with an Indian consortium to acquire a 50% stake in Ratnagiri Refinery & Petrochemicals Ltd. UAE-based ADNOC, too, signed an agreement to pick up 25% of Saudi Aramco’s share in the Ratnagiri project.

After a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Crown Prince in Buenos Aires last November, the two nations had decided to set up a mechanism for promoting Saudi Investments across energy, defence, food security and manufacturing sectors over the next 2-3 years.

The Crown Prince is learnt to have informed the Prime Minister on that occasion that Saudi would be finalising an initial investment into India’s National Infrastructure Fund. He also referred to the prospects for investment in technology, agriculture and energy sectors.

Modi had then urged the Crown Prince on the importance of stable and predictable energy prices and some discussions had taken place between the two leaders on how Saudi could contribute to and help stabilise the energy prices, particularly for India.

Saudi Arabia is India’s fourth largest trade partner, after China, the US and the UAE.

“Saudi Arabia is a major source of energy as we import around 17% of our crude oil requirement from the kingdom. In 2017-18, the India-Saudi bilateral trade increased 9.56% to $27.48 billion. During this period, our imports from Saudi Arabia reached $22.06 billion, registering an increase of 10.5% over the previous year ($19.97 billion), whereas our exports to Saudi Arabia reached $5.41 billion, registering an increase of 5.88% over the previous year ($5.11 billion),” according to a foreign ministry document.

The current bilateral trade (April-October 2018, provisional figures) is valued at $19.64 billion. Saudi Arabia was the 15th largest market in the world for Indian exports, and the destination to 1.85% of India’s global exports in 2017-18. It was also the third largest source of India’s global imports.

For Saudi Arabia, as per 2017 data, India was the fourth largest market for its exports, accounting for 8.88% of its total shipments. In terms of imports, India ranked seventh and was the source of around 4.13% of its imports.

According to the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), there were 322 Indian companies operating as joint ventures or wholly owned entities, worth $1.4 billion, in the kingdom in December 2017.

These companies worked in projects in sectors such as management and consultancy services, construction, telecommunications, IT and pharmaceuticals.

Saudi Arabia ranks 48 in terms of India-bound investments between April 2000 and June 2018 with a funding of $208.38 million. Saudi petrochemical giant SABIC set up its R&D unit in Bengaluru with an investment of more than $100 million in November 2013. Saudi-headquartered Al-Fanar is executing a 300mw power project in Kutch. Many other companies have invested in India through their non-Saudi subsidiaries. Source: The Economic Times, Feb 12, 2019