Amid volatile global fuel prices, PM Narendra Modi to meet India, foreign oil company chiefs today
With fuel prices continuing to rise in India amid a global surge in crude oil rates, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet the chiefs of national and international oil and gas companies and other stakeholders on Monday to discuss the emerging energy scenario. The meeting, coordinated by the Niti Aayog, is likely to focus on challenges posed by volatile oil prices and the US sanctions on Iran, set to come in force from November 4. Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) secretary general Mohammed Barkindo, Indian petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Saudi oil minister Khalid A Al Falih, BP CEO Bob Dudley, Total head Patrick Fouyane, Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani and Vedanta chief Anil Agarwal are expected to attend the meet which will also deliberate on ways to revive investment in oil and gas exploration and production, official sources said, reported PTI. Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) chairman and managing director Shashi Shanker, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) chairman Sanjiv Singh, Gas Authority of India Limited India head BC Tripathi, Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) chairman Mukesh Kumar Suran, Oil India Limited (OIL) chairman Utpal Bora and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) chairman D Rajkumar will also be present, the sources added. This in the third such annual meeting called by the Indian government. The first meeting was held on January 5, 2016 where suggestions for reforming natural gas prices were made. In the second in October 2017, suggestions were made for giving out equity to foreign and private companies in producing oil and gas fields of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and Oil India Limited (OIL) . However, the ONGC had resisted this, leading to the proposal not going through. The meeting would also look at measures to attract investments and steps for making it easier to do business in India. The government is looking at private investment to raise domestic oil and gas production, which has stagnated for the last few years while fuel demand has been rising by 5-6 per cent annually. India is dependent on imports to meet 83 per cent of its demand and more than half of its natural gas requirements, as per PTI. Prime minister Modi in 2015 had set a target of reducing India’s oil dependence by 10 per cent to 67 per cent (based on import dependence of 77 per cent in 2014-15) by 2022. Import dependence has only increased since then and the government is now looking for ways to raise domestic output. The meeting comes as fuel prices continued to rise across the four major metros on Sunday. In the national capital, petrol was priced at Rs 82.72 per litre, up from Rs 82.66 on Saturday, data on the Indian Oil Corporation website showed, reported IANS. Similarly, petrol prices in Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai also rose on Sunday — to Rs 88.18, Rs 84.54, and Rs 85.99 per litre respectively. Diesel prices also rose across the four metros on Sunday, with the fuel selling for Rs 75.38 a litre in Delhi, Rs 79.02 in Mumbai,Rs 77.23 in Kolkata and Rs 79.71 in Chennai.