The Narendra Modi-government’s pledge to cut oil import dependence by 10 per cent has been turned upside down as the country’s reliance on foreign oil has jumped under the NDA to a multi-year high of nearly 84 per cent, latest government data showed.
Speaking at the “Urja Sangam” conference in March 2015, the Prime Minister had said India needed to bring down its oil import dependence from 77 per cent in 2013-14 to 67 per cent by 2022 when the country will celebrate its 75th year of independence.
Further, the dependence can be cut to half by 2030, he had said.
But with consumption growing at a brisk pace and domestic output remaining stagnant, India’s oil import dependence has risen to 83.7 per cent in 2018-19 from 82.9 per cent in 2017-18, according to the oil ministry’s Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC). Import dependence in 2015-16 was 80.6 per cent, which rose to 81.7 per cent in the following year, the PPAC said.
The country’s oil consumption grew from 184.7 million tonnes in 2015-16 to 194.6 million tonnes in the following year and 206.2 million tonnes in 2017-18. In 2018-19, demand grew 2.6 per cent to 211.6 million tonnes.
In contrast, domestic output continues to fall. India’s crude oil output fell to 36 million tonnes in 2016-17 from 36.9 million tonnes in 2015-16. The trend of negative growth continues in the following years too with output falling to 35.7 million tonnes in 2017-18 and to 34.2 million tonnes in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019, the PPAC data showed.
The government is focusing on measures such as increasing domestic production, promoting the use of biofuel and energy conservation to reduce dependence on imported crude oil. It changed exploration rules multiple times during the last five years to get the elusive private and foreign investment.
The previous New Exploration Licensing Policy (Nelp) was changed to Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP) promising pricing and marketing freedom.
HELP brought in the open acreage licensing policy that gave companies freedom to choose areas they want to explore. Discovered oil and gasfields, taken away from state-owned firms, were also auctioned but neither this nor the open acreage policy managed to get big names to invest in exploration and production of oil and gas.
According to the PPAC, India spent $111.9 billion on oil imports in 2018-19, up from $87.8 billion in the previous fiscal year. The import bill was $64 billion in 2015-16.
For the current fiscal, it projected crude oil imports to rise to 233 million tonnes and foreign exchange spending on it to marginally increase to $112.7 billion.
State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp’s (ONGC) output fell to 19.6 million tonnes in 2018-19 from 20.8 million tonnes in the previous year. ONGC’s oil production was 20.9 million tonnes in 2016-17 and 21.1 million tonnes in 2015-16. Output from the fields operated by private firms has dropped to 9.6 million tonnes in 2018-19 from 11.2 million tonnes in 2015-16.
Iran has mobilised all its resources to sell oil in a “grey market”, bypassing US sanctions that Tehran sees as illegitimate, state media quoted deputy oil minister Amir Hossein Zamaninia as saying on Sunday.
The United States, which last year withdrew from a 2015 Iran nuclear deal with world powers, has told buyers of Iranian oil to stop purchases by May 1 or face sanctions.
Iran says it will continue to export oil in defiance of US sanctions, part of a campaign by Washington aimed at halting Tehran’s ballistic missile programme and curbing its regional power.
Source :- Telegraphindia.com