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EMERGING TRENDS IN INDIAN ENERGY SECTOR

By P P BASISTHA


The initiative set by the Government of India to attract global players in oil exploration, production and refining, to fulfill India’s large scale present and forecasted demand requirement seems to receive further momentum. Major global upstream and down stream (exploration and refining) heavyweights along with the service providers are evincing increasing interest to enter into the country. Thanks, to the new exploration and licensing policy of the Government of India.

Entry of newer entrants holds significance, as many of the players and project service providers, willing to source business opportunities in the sector, are showing interest in setting up green field projects and also enter into technical collaborations with Indian counterparts, through technology transfer agreements for business promotion. This could entail larger foreign direct investment running into billions of dollars into the sector. Not the least, in plugging the country’s energy requirement deficit.

This perception was evident in the recently held Pertrotech- 6th International Petroleum Conference and Exhibition in New Delhi. The event, saw major presence of large number of Indian and foreign Oil and gas companies, consisting the likes of ONGC- as the major organiser of the event, LNG Petronet, Shell, Zarubezheneft of Russia, Ras gas of Iran among many others looking for sourcing opportunities into the hydrocarbon and gas sector .

'With deregulation set by the Government in the sector, pertinently ending the monopoly of ONGC in exploration, added with factor of crude prices ruling at $ 45 to $50 explorers and producers are finding it much commercially viable to set up newer facilities in India since this would enable them to attain a better breakeven in their operations'- says Mahendra Aswani, Marketing Manager of the oil and gas division of Technical Parts Company, a United Arab Emirates based major concern involved in undertaking service contracts for both upstream and down stream industries. Similar views are endorsed by officials from the country based Engineers India Limited. EIL offers project services in pipelines, oil and gas processing etc.

With exploration and production getting further commercially viable and going by the assorted nature of customised demand requirements from the upstream segment, service providers to the same are increasingly vying to have a sizeable market share, while meeting the demand of the concerned segment in the new scenario. Not the least, in consolidating their position.

This is endeavored to be done by companies through providing advanced knowledge data base inputs and cutting edge technology solutions at their disposal, to the explorers and producers. A case in this point is made by Randal Mc Corvey, General Manager- Far East of Dutch based company Furgo Jason, involved in gas reservoir characterization both in river and sea beds. According to Mc Corvey, this has to be done by providing information (geological data base) in his case to the explorers much with value added content and precision, so as to enable the users to go in for accurate degree of exploration and in turn enable the service providers to maintain credibility. The company claims to have an expertise in having a diverse data base created through convergence of inputs and years of experience in the field. Prominent Indian clients of Furgo-Jason consists of Reliance and ONGC. For the former the concern has done studies on Krishna Godavari basin.

Similar views are echoed by concerned officials of Russian giant, Zarubezhneft. The company has been working in India since 1983 with ONGC and has interest in exploration, designing and construction of oil fields. In concurrence with providing advanced technology and inputs, companies are also increasingly making their best efforts in making their products and services competitive through better economics of scale in their operation to make their presence felt among users.

Though there are many opportunities in exploration and production, companies are also looking forward for undertaking projects in the refining sector. Because much newer development is set to take place in India’s refining arena. As per this, the country would be witnessing large scale refining capacity additions in the immediate future. This would be from the Essar group which would be commissioning 10 million tones refining capacity within a span of two to three years. Besides, Nagarjuna would also be adding 6 million tones refining capacity shortly. Other prominent capacity additions would be taking by Indian Oil Corporation in Panipat and that also in Paradeep. All these leaves much scope for newer and existing entrants to cash on the development.

Moreover, there is further much scope to be harnessed by operators and service providers in refining owing to possibilities of retro fitment and capacity addition through de bottlenecking. This is owing to the reason, India’s refining capacity leaves much to be desired in terms of better capacity utilization and integration of operation. Capacity addition is significant not only in face of larger oil demand in the domestic market but also to maintain a steady trend in exports of petroleum and lubricants in the export market.


Partha Basistha is Senior Research Analyst with IndiaCore. He can be reached at info@IndiaCore.com.

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