Listing lack of proper infrastructure, project bottlenecks, subsidies and lack of proper business environment as some of the roadblocks, BP Plc country head, Sashi Mukundan on Thursday said all these have made India a less attractive investment destination for the oil and gas sector.
``India is reaching out to be the third-largest economy by 2030, after the US and China. The demand for energy will triple presenting huge investment opportunities. However, these opportunities are accompanied by several challenges. A non-conducive business environment, lack of adequate infrastructure, project bottlenecks, and significant energy-related subsidies -- all have distorted and diluted the overall attractiveness of the sector,’’ Mr. Mukundan said at a Business Partners Meet, “Delivering Value through Strategic Partnerships”, a pre-conference event of Petrotech 2014 organised jointly by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), ONGC and Petrotech.
He said at the current prices, which were one-fourth of the cost of importing gas, a large number of projects remained economically unviable. ``If we are to be the third-largest economy, then we need to start behaving like one. We cannot afford to not do things at scale or not explore all options to satisfy growing energy demand. It will also be more painful to do it all alone,’’ he remarked.
Strategic partnerships important
Planning Commission member, B.K. Chaturvedi, who delivered the keynote address said domestically, strategic partnerships are important as investments (deep water exploration) which were earlier financially unviable become viable. ``It is critical for oil and gas companies to re-evaluate these projects and develop them jointly. The Indian oil companies and the government need to work together to expedite the development of a gas network in India. It is essential to move towards market related pricing which is aligned with international pricing to sustain strategic partnership and encourage investment in the sector,’’ he added.
Petroleum Secretary, strategic partnerships are essentially at a Government to Government level and are driven by commonality of objective and purpose. ``Asian gas companies need to come together and negotiate better prices for LNG. Developing an Asian Gas grid and transnational Pipelines are other key areas which have huge potential for strategic partnerships among governments and oil and gas companies.
Referring to India, he said strategic partnerships between the Government and the Indian oil and gas companies are a promising area as these will enable them to achieve their goals of ensuring energy security. It is also important to form and strengthen the partnerships between the Industry and the academia.