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Indian Oil Producers Face New Scrutiny From Modi Government As 2020 Target Nears

New Delhi

Indian state producers face increased scrutiny from the energy ministry to make sure the Asian giant meets its import dependency reduction goals, according to Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Wednesday.

“We have now started monitoring those fields and have given new benchmarks to the National Oil Companies to increase production," Pradhan said at an industry event, according to Reuters.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s target is to import 67 percent of oil needs by 2020 – down from the 80 percent rate maintained currently.

As India develops, its energy demands grow accordingly. Modi has said he plans to use coal to bring power to the most remote villages in the depths of the South Asian country.

Oil and natural gas recovery from reservoirs must meet international benchmark rates for India to meet its target by 2020.

“In India, the current recovery factors of ONGC and Oil India for crude oil are as low as 27 percent and 23 percent. In the case of natural gas, it is 54 percent and 43 percent for ONGC and Oil India," Pradhan said, adding that the global averages are 35-40 percent for oil and 55-70 percent for gas. "A robust captive market is India's strength, and for energy security we have brought these reforms.”

India’s two biggest energy import partners are both Middle Eastern. Iraq produced almost a quarter of the oil India imported last month, or 23 percent, exporting at a daily rate of 1 million barrels. That is compared to a monthly average export market share of 19 percent for the prior four months. OPEC’s number-two has dethroned the cartel’s leader—Saudi Arabia—which has been the top supplier in the world’s fastest-growing market in terms of oil consumption.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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