SPEECH OF SHRI DINSHA PATEL HON’BLE MINISTER OF
STATE, PETROLEUM & NATURAL GAS ON THE OCCASION OF
FOUNDATION STONE LAYING CEREMONY OF RAJIV GANDHI
INSTITUTE OF PETROLEUM TECHNOLOGY
Respected Smt. Sonia Gandhi ji, President UPA, Shri Murli Deoraji,
Minister for Petroleum & Natural Gas, Shri Satish Kumar Sharma, Member
of Parliament, Shri Rahul Gandhi, Member of Parliament, Shri M S
Srinivasan, Secretary, Petroleum & Natural Gas and other senior officers of
the Ministry, CMDs of Oil PSUs, Chairman, RGIPT Society, Friends from
Press and Electronic Media, Dear Children, ladies and gentlemen.
The volatility in global crude market continued to pose a major threat
to India’s energy security and eroded the bottom lines of Oil Companies in
2007, even as several new hydrocarbon discoveries were made in the
country and oil assets acquired overseas to secure the country’s fuel needs.
To tide over a part of the crisis, the Government also launched another round
of auctions for its oil and gas assets, the seventh under the new policy, and
hoped to attract $ 3.5 - 4 billion additional investments, with $ 8 billion
attracted in exploration in the previous six rounds in NELP-VII. As global
crude prices continued to surge during 2007 and threatened to breach the
level of $ 100 per barrel, policy makers were at pains to address the
situation. However, in order to secure the energy needs of the ‘aam aadmi’ ,
the UPA Government have not raised the prices in consonance with increase
in international prices.
With the country dependant on overseas sources for about 74 percent
of its oil needs, India’s oil bill import also surged despite the 12.5 per cent
rise in the value of the Indian rupee vis-à-vis the dollar. The International
Energy Agency (IEA), has projected that India’s dependence on oil imports
will grow upto 90 per cent by 2020. As per the 11 th Five Year Plan, too,
India’s crude oil needs would rise to 145 million tones in 2011-12 from the
127 million tones in 2006-07, while domestic production should rise to 40
million tones from 34 million tones.
During the year, several companies, both domestic and multinationals,
reported new discoveries, notably in the Krishna-Godavari, Kaveri and
Mahanadi basins. The government also offered 57 exploration and
production (E&P) blocks in 7th round of NELP to both domestic and
multinational companies in deep water, shallow waters as well as on land.
Earlier 56 discoveries were made by private and joint venture companies
under the previous six rounds of auctions, inviting an investment to the tune
of $ 8 billion.
The government set up the Petroleum & Natural Gas Regulatory
Board, as an independent regulatory body for the downstream petroleum
sector. The private participation and competition will boost the growth to
manifest on a wider scale. The Government is committed to increase the
exploration coverage to an extent of 100% by 2015. In a recent study
conducted by consultant Price Waterhouse Coopers, the gap between the
availability and requirement of trained manpower in India is projected to be
about 36,000 by the year 2019 and the existing institutes are not in a position
to meet the increasing requirement of technical human resource in Petroleum
Sector. To partially fill this gap, the Government of India, has set up Rajiv
Gandhi Institute of Petroleum Technology, as an Institute of National
Importance on the lines of IITs to provide education, research &
development and consultancy in the Petroleum Sector domain covering
entire hydrocarbon chain.
The Institute has been accorded full functional and financial
autonomy, and shall start its maiden academic programs from academic year
2008-09. I wish a great success to the Institute and hope that it would entail
development of the area and would open up new opportunities of
employment to the local people.