Veerappa Moily justifies gas price hike

Mumbai, July 26 (ANI): Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dr. M. Veerappa Moily on Friday justified the recent Cabinet decision to hike the gas price, saying it will make exploration of natural gas commercially viable.

Dr. Moily, who was speaking at the National Convention on Oil and Gas 2013 here, called for higher investments in the oil and gas sector to boost self sufficiency.

"Should we pay $ 6.83 per unit to produce gas domestically or import it at much higher price? This is the decision we will have to make." He added, "Around 3 trillion cubic feet of discovered natural gas in the country is lying unutilized as it is considered not viable to commercially exploit the reserves at prevailing rate of $ 4.2," he said.

Dr. Moily said the government needs to move ahead and take bold decisions and should not be bogged down by the fear of CBI or CAG.

He also stated that there is an urgent need to destroy bureaucratic delays, saying "process should not dominate; instead the focus should be on delivery".

Dr. Moily said he has asked the oil and gas PSUs to step up their capital expenditure to boost capacity.

He said that he will hold a meeting with oil PSUs executives shortly to review their investment road map. The Petroleum Minister also indicated that an Open Acreage Licensing Policy will soon be in place to facilitate faster exploration.

Referring to acquisition of oil and gas assets abroad, Dr. Moily said our oil companies should become more aggressive in pursuing opportunities in various countries including Iran, Kazakstan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan.

The National Convention on Oil and Gas, organized by the India-Tech Foundation, aims to discuss strategies for development, redevelopment of marginal fields and management of 'brown fields' with the aim of helping accelerate the growth of hydro-carbon sector in India.

The energy security is of prime importance for India, as it is not only one of the fastest growing economies in the world, but also the sixth largest consumer of oil and gas. (ANI)