Deora targets MGL and IGL at NELP-VIII roadshow

Vol 13, PW 5 (13 Aug 09) People & Policy

Oil minister Murli Deora chose the NELP-VIII inauguration in Mumbai on August 8 to express unhappiness with Mumbai gas retailer Mahanagar Gas and Delhi gas retailer Indraprastha Gas.

Deviating from his otherwise insipid speech Deora recalled his time as mayor of Mumbai 30 years ago. “From the Gateway of India we used to watch a large flame in the sea from the Bombay High,â€‌ said Deora.

“I was told it was gas being flared because it could not be brought to shore. As mayor I discussed with (then ONGC chairman) Dr.

NV Prasad how this gas could be brought to shore so people could benefit.â€‌ Deora said he was, “unhappy that it took nearly 30 years to stop flaring this gas and get it to Mumbai.

â€‌ Both MGL and IGL, said Deora, “are doing great work but they are late in reaching various zones.â€‌ Still, Deora hoped that, “in the next eight to nine years half of Mumbai will get piped gasâ€‌.

Before Deora, oil secretary RS Pandey said few countries could match NELP-VIII’s investor friendly terms. Pandey said, “India’s appetite for energy is increasing,â€‌ and that the D6 and Rajasthan discoveries disproved the myth that India is not prospective.

Cairn CEO Rahul Dhir said production from Rajasthan would start “immediatelyâ€‌ but gave no timeframe. He added that Cairn had “transplantedâ€‌ the offshore platform concept to its Rajasthan operations.

“You don’t see lots of wells as, say, in Texas,â€‌ said Dhir. “But there are well pads from each of which 20 wells are drilled.

â€‌ Dhir said this way less land is acquired with less environmental impact. BG India chief Derek Fisher made a strong pitch to potential investors.

“BG is very excited and interested in participating in this licensing round,â€‌ he said. “India is a great story; we think it is a good place to invest and we strongly encourage others to take a hard look at NELP-VIII and CBM-IV.

â€‌ ONGC chairman RS Sharma invited potential “strategic partnersâ€‌ to bid for NELP-VIII and CBM-IV blocks. “It will be a win-win situation,â€‌ he said.