Vol 2, PW 24 (23 Dec 98) Exploration & Production

This report must stress that the above dates are provisional only and subject to confirmation by the Indian Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas.

A source at the DGH closely involved in the NELP launch confirms that the above dates are correct but stresses that the oil ministers signature is still required to make it formal. However, both Petroconsultants and the DGH now believe this is a mere formality, even though Petroconsultants readily admits it has still not received written confirmation from the oil ministry.

In another encouraging development, the Revenue Department of the Ministry of Finance has renamed the infamous Petroleum Tax Code (PTC), the Petroleum Tax Guide (PTG), in an effort to fudge some of the contentious issues which still remain unresolved. Shivraj Singh, Joint Secretary Exploration, is leading negotiations with the Revenue Department, whose continued objections to the tax code and other components of NELP have been directly responsible for delaying the round.

However, a source at the ministry insists that the Revenue Department "is now 80% satisfied" with NELP and that only minor points need to be resolved. Once again, proceed with caution.

Such optimistic statements are nothing new.