NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a high-profile meeting with CEOs of foreign and Indian companies including Rosneft, Saudi Aramco, BP, Reliance Industries and Cairn India as the government seeks big-ticket investment in its vast, rapidly growing energy market.
Modi will meet Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, BP CEO Bob Dudley, Saudi Aramco CEO Amin H Naseer, Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, Cairn India chairman Anil Agarwal, ExxonMobil president Rob Franklin and chairmen of state-run oil firms at a brainstorming session coordinated by Niti Aayog on Monday.
The meeting follows a turnaround in investor sentiment in the sector with the announcement of a $6-billion investment by BP and Reliance to develop deep-sea gas fields and the active interest of Aramco, which has been eyeing investment opportunities in India.
The Saudi company is opening an office in the country and is moving a senior executive from China to India.
India’s energy demand is expected to accelerate as the economy expands and more people have access to power, cooking gas and personal transport, which would require more investment in infrastructure.
Experts say India’s rapid expansion of solar and wind energy generation will also require use of natural gas for power generation to ensure smooth 24-hour supply.
Officials say India offers big opportunities in the oil and gas sector. The development of deep-sea fields by Reliance and state-run ONGC creates a demand for oilfield services and equipment, particularly in regions near the gas-rich southeastern coast. The government also plans to involve the private sector in improving the performance of existing oilfields, which were given to ONGC without any competition.
The government will be represented by Dharmendra Pradhan, minister for petroleum and natural gas, Rajiv Kumar, vice-chairman of Niti Aayog, cabinet secretary PK Sinha and Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant. Secretaries of key ministries will also be present to ensure all policy and tax issues are explained immediately to ensure a positive outcome. Veteran policymaker Vijay Kelkar, Daniel Yergin, vice-chairman IHS Mark, and David C Carroll, president International Gas Union, will also attend.
India’s oil and gas sector has been marred by tight controls, big subsidies and high-profile disputes, but in recent years, the government has resolved practically all the concerns of investors in the sector.