India announces new hydrocarbon exploration licensing policy

India has announced a new hydrocarbon exploration licensing policy which offers single license to explore conventional and unconventional oil and gas resources, as the country seeks to propel investment in the energy sector.

Christened “Hydrocarbon Exploration Licensing Policy” or HELP, the new policy also gives the investors the much needed freedom in pricing and marketing for crude oil and natural gas.

The new policy is part of the strategy to make India a business and investor friendly destination and achieve the plan to double India’s existing oil production from current 80 million metric tons to about 150-155 million metric tons by 2022, said the Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

Pradhan is leading a high-powered delegation to Houston to attend CERAWeek 2017 an international meeting of top leaders from the oil, energy and natural gas industry.

In addition to the Canadian Prime Minister, the week-long meeting is being attended by oil and energy ministers from countries like Russia, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.

“In the new model, government will not micromanage, micro monitor with producers. Government will only share revenue. It will be an open and regular affair,” Pradhan told reporters at a news conference here.

“The policy aims to propel investment in the energy and petroleum sector and provide operational flexibility to the investors,” he said.

One of the key features of the new policy is Open Acreage licensing which permits investors to select the exploration blocks after accessing G&G and historic data of India through the national data repository. They can then submit expression of interest for such blocks without waiting for formal bid round.

Pradhan hoped that the bidding under the new policy would be in mid-July.

Pradhan said the Union government is also contemplating a policy for production enhancement of mature fields currently being operated by national oil companies by inducting partners to infuse state of the art E&P technologies, investments and best-in class management practices.

“The objective of this policy would be to increase India’s indigenous oil and gas production by maximising the potential of already discovered hydrocarbon resources in India,” he said.

“We need global best practices and modern technologies to develop the sector. With this in mind, we have introduced landmark changes in the entire value chain of oil and gas sector,” he said.