Hyderabad: The Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas will soon bring in a Uniform Gas Price Policy to ensure parity in the price of imported and locally-produced gas.
"I have worked out the policy, but don't know whether it has to go to the Cabinet or not. The proposed policy will ensure one price for gas that is imported and that is produced here," Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas M Veerappa Moily said here this evening.
Imported gas currently costs high, he pointed out.
"The price depends on the country from where it is imported. In Qatar it is a little less (18 USD), other countries it is 21 USD. Shale gas may work out very cheap. Now we are working towards parity (in price) between imported and domestic gas," Moily told newsmen.
India might achieve self-sufficiency in gas by 2016-17, he pointed out.
"May be in June, two MMSCMD (metric million standard cubic metres per day) gas of ONGC will be available here. In the meanwhile, we are clearing some of the projects...clearing obstacles in the way to implementing the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) projects will also help us ease out the situation," the Minister said.
Referring to some 40 oil and gas blocks that haven't taken off, Moily noted, "They have been approved under the NELP. And the contractors, including our own PSUs, have taken them. But subsequently, defence, environment and some other departments raised some objection and wanted the No-Objection Certificate withdrawn. Nearly 13 billion USD has been invested in those projects."
"It will be very dangerous... investors will be dissuaded. The 40 blocks are coming up before the Cabinet Committee on Investments on the 30th. It is left to the Cabinet to decide whether or not to clear them," he added.
Moily said his ministry has worked out the shale gas policy and it would come to the Union Cabinet any time.
On Coal Bed Methane (CBM), the minister said the policy evolved in 1997 was now being revised.
"Gas explored from the NELP blocks would also be governed by the EGoM formula", Moily said.
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) informed in a press release that the Union Minister has agreed in principle to the expansion of HPCL oil refinery at Visakhapatnam and also establishment of a new greenfield refinery at the Petro-Chemical and Petroleum Investment Region.
The proposals involve a total investment of Rs 40,000 crore, the statement said, adding, "Moily has asked HPCL to work out details of the projects".
"He (Moily) has also asked his ministry officials to co-ordinate with the state government on the projects", the release added.