India has asked Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Nations (OPEC) nations to raise their crude oil output and squeeze skyrocketing prices, Planning Commission Member Dr Kirit S Parikh said on Thursday. Parikh, who is also a member of the Energy Co-ordination Committee headed by the Prime Minister, was inaugurating ASSOCHAM's 10th Energy Summit on the Oil & Gas sector.
He said that oil-hungry countries, including India, would intensify their campaign to find crude oil substitutes on a war footing, consequences of which would be averse to OPEC national interests.
Crude oil prices, Parikh said, have gone up around $82 per barrel, the impact of which was too high for developing nations to absorb on a sustainable basis. He said the only feasible alternate left was that OPEC nations enhance crude oil output so that disruptions do not take place in crude supplies.
Parikh forecast that with the current skyrocketing crude oil prices continuing, India's dependence on crude-oil imports would increase to between 90-95 per cent, from 70 per cent currently. He urged domestic oil producers to push up their exploration efforts for oil and gas discovery by optimally exploiting marginal oil and gas fields and blocs offered under stipulations of the new exploration and licensing policy (NELP).
He also invited private sector oil companies and national oil companies to harness non-conventional energy sources such as exploration of bio-diesel and other sources like solar energy, wind energy and biomass.
Algeria's Ambassador to India Noureddine Bardad-Daidj said Petronet LNG Ltd was in talks with Sonatrach for a 25-year contract to import 1.25 million tonnes of LNG per annum. "Petronet LNG will shortly sign a long-term contract for import of LNG for 25 years," he said.
India had last year made spot purchase of LNG from Sonatrach.
The LNG contract is for 4.5 million tonnes and the Skikda LNG terminal is expected to be operational by 2011. Petronet officials said the agreement was not likely before next year and supplies would commence by 2011.
The company currently imports 5 million tonnes a year of LNG from RasGas of Qatar on a long-term contract. Besides importing spot LNG cargoes, it is also in talks to import LNG from the Chevron-operated Gorgon liquefaction project in Australia.
Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Chairman and Managing Director RS Sharma said the company was facing no pressure to withdraw or freeze operations in Myanmar due to internal turmoil in that country.
ONGC has stakes in two gas fields and three exploration blocks off Myanmar. The company holds 20 per cent stake in gas discovery blocks A-1 and A-3, operated by South Korea's Daewoo International. "We are not the operators in the gas fields and for the three exploration blocks where ONGC has 100 per cent stake. I cannot say anything just now. We have to wait and see," he added.