UnioN minister for petroleum and natural gas 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.
Speaking at the Oil & Gas 2013 meet here on Friday,Moily said,Should we pay $6.83 per unit (mBtu) to produce gas domestically or import it paying $17 per unit? This is the decision we will have to make.
Around 3 trillion cubic feet of discovered natural gas in the country is lying unutilised as it is considered not viable to commercially exploit the reserves at prevailing rate of $4.2,he said,adding that 80 per cent of the requirements are still met through imports.
Moily said the government needs to move ahead and take bold decisions and should not be bogged down by the fear of the CBI or the CAG.
He also stated that there is an urgent need to curtail bureaucratic delays,saying process should not dominate,instead the focus should be on delivery.
The petroleum minister said he has asked the oil and gas PSUs to step up their capital expenditure to boost capacity. The 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,Moily said oil companies should become more aggressive in pursuing opportunities in various countries including Iran,Kazakhstan,Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan.