ONGC and Oil India could stretch to hold on to 52 generating fields on the circumstance that they deliver results in terms of production

Oil and Natural Gas Corporation’s (ONGC) top administrators and officials within the government have strongly prevented an endeavour by the Niti Aayog to privatise the country’s booming oil and gas producing fields and also including those in the famed Bombay High and Vasai East. A council directed by Niti Aayog vice-chairman, Rajiv Kumar supported “transferring” the western maritime oil and gas fields of Mumbai High, Heera, D-1, Vasai East and Panna as well as Greater Jo Rajan and Geleki field in Assam, Baghewala in Rajasthan and Kalol oilfield in Gujarat to private/foreign companies through a stake sale. The state-owned firm had stoutly denied the Niti Aayog proposal later entitling it as an obtrusive “asset-stripping” operation.

Former senior ONGC officials said, “Privatisation is not the only solution. The performance of private companies is not that encouraging and one has only to see the outcome of those fields that have already been privatised.”The committee’s final report which was presented on January 29, had flooded down the proposal by recommending that the national oil companies should be given the freedom to determine the field-specific implementation form to ramp up production from the departments in a farm out, mutual venture or technical service agreements and had also recommended the national oil companies should have the freedom to decide on pricing and marketing matters in the state of any current area growth plan. These fields provide nearly 95 per cent of complete oil production of35.7 million tonnes (mt) and gas output of 32,648 million standard cubic metre (mcm) in 2017-18. Besides the nine fields, 149 limited fields, which provide about 5 per cent of the domestic production, were to be gathered and proffer out.

The council, despite, stated that the state-owned firms ONGC and Oil India could continue to hold on to 52 generating domains on the condition that they deliver outcomes in terms of production and commercial achievement within a specific time interval. The six-member committee, including top civil servants, cabinet secretary P.K. Sinha and supervised by Niti Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar, told in its report that the oil companies needed to stick firmly to an authorised production profile. If they fail, even these domains should be considered for privatisation. The report stated in case the oil and gas production fell below 10 per cent of the agreed completion parameter aloft the next three years, these fields could be taken away from the two national oil companies and offered to private companies and fifty-two oil and gas fields have been set on notification, of which ONGC holds 49 fields and OIL three.

The committee had recommended that the government should consider the idea of tackling brand-new technology and financing to boost production from these fields, by reducing oil and gas imports in the country, which have regularly developed over the prior four years. The crude stock has dwindled 4.7 per cent and natural gas 2.9 per cent following 2014-15 despite a regular increase in consumption. The data revealed that crude production dropped from 37mt in 2014-15 to 35mt in 2017-18 and gas production also declined from 33,657mscm to 32,648mscm through the same period. Though, data reveals that the import dependency on oil has risen from 78.3 per cent of total consumption in 2014-15 to 82.9 per cent through the fiscal year ended in 2018.

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