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 »

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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

Indian refiners pay for Iranian oil in rupees

Source: The Hindu Business Line, Jan 09, 2019

India has begun paying Iran for oil in rupees, a senior bank official said on Tuesday, the first such payments since the United States imposed new sanctions against Tehran in November.

Washington gave a six-month waiver to eight countries, including India, allowing them to import some Iranian oil.

India, the world’s third biggest oil importer, wants to continue buying oil from Iran as it offers free shipping and an extended credit period, while Iran will use the rupee funds to mostly pay for imports from India.

“Today we received a good amount from some oil companies,” Charan Singh, executive director at state-owned UCO Bank, told Reuters. He did not disclose the names of refiners or how much had been deposited.

New Delhi recently issued a notification exempting payments to the National Iranian Oil Co (NIOC) for crude oil imports from steep withholding taxes, enabling refiners to clear an estimated $1.5 billion in dues. Read the rest of this entry »

India cuts duty on refined, crude palm oil from Asean

Source: The Economic Times, Jan 02, 2019

The government has cut import duties on crude and refined palm oil from Southeast Asian countries. India imports 60% — 15.5 million tonnes annually — of its edible oil requirements, largely from Malaysia, Indonesia, Argentina and Ukraine.

The duty on crude palm oil from Malaysia, Indonesia and other members of the Association of South East Asian Nations was cut to 40% from 44%, while the tax on refined palm oil was cut to 45% from 54% if imported from Malaysia and to 50%, if purchased from Indonesia or other member-nations of Asean, the ministry of finance said in a ministry notification issued on Monday.

The industry said the duty reduction would lead to increased imports of palm oil and it was too early to say if Indian consumers would benefit. The Solvent Extractors Association said that the duty cut, effective from Tuesday, would impact the domestic palm oil refining industry and hit oil palm cultivation. The industry pegs the country’s edible oil consumption at 23.5 million tonnes for 2018-19 and expects to import 15.5 million tonnes, with 60% from Malaysia and Indonesia, followed by soyabean oil from Argentina and Brazil, sunflower oil from Ukraine and Russia and canola oil from Canada. Read the rest of this entry »

Govt sets up 6-member panel to frame plan to sell 149 ONGC, OIL oil fields

Source: Business Standard, Dec 03, 2018

New Delhi: The government has constituted a six-member committee to look at selling as many as 149 small and marginal oil and gas fields of state-owned ONGC and OIL to private and foreign companies to boost domestic output, sources said.

The panel is headed by NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar and includes Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha, Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg, Oil Secretary M M Kutty, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant and ONGC Chairman and Managing Director Shashi Shanker.

Sources said the committee is a follow up of the October 12 meeting called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review domestic production profile of oil and gas and the roadmap for cutting import dependence by 10 per cent by 2022. Read the rest of this entry »