In a boost to firms like Reliance Industries and ONGC, the oil ministry has moved a proposal to the Cabinet for allowing pricing freedom for natural gas produced from coal seams.
The ministry has proposed to the Cabinet that coal-bed methane () gas producers be given pricing freedom and allowed to price the fuel at market rates, sources privy to the development said.
This will help operators quickly put in production the CBM blocks they hold and reverse the trend of investors relinquishing coal-seam blocks due to viability issues of current pricing.
Of the 33 CBM bearing blocks awarded so far in four auction rounds and on a nomination basis, gas is being produced from only four.
The move will benefit Reliance which has two blocks in Madhya Pradesh that are in the process of starting production. ONGC and Essar Oil too will benefit from the new policy as it will help them put their acreage into production quickly.
The four CBM blocks in production have a combined output of 1.17 million standard cubic metres per day. As many as 18 blocks have either been relinquished or are in the process as operators found that it did not make economic sense to produce gas at the prevailing rates.
Most of the natural gas produced in the country is priced at an average of rates prevailing in gas surplus nations like the US, Russia and Canada. The current price comes to $2.5 per million British thermal unit, a rate considered unviable by many operators.
Sources said pricing freedom is enshrined in the CBM contracts.
These contracts, they say, are based on fixed revenue that the government will get from sale of CBM gas, and higher the rate of gas, the higher the government revenue. Unlike contracts for exploration and production of conventional natural gas, those of CBMs do not provide for cost recovery. Read More…
Credit By : Business-standard.com
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