New Delhi: Changing its earlier stance, the government said on Thursday it was not considering raising the price of gas produced from fields operated by state-run firms.
“No. Not under consideration,” petroleum secretary R.S. Pandey said in reply to a question on whether the administered price of gas produced by Oil and Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC) and Oil India Ltd (OIL) would be raised. The ministry had moved a cabinet note last year for a rise in the price of natural gas produced by ONGC from fields given to it on nomination basis. The proposal was to raise the price to Rs3.71 per cu. m from the current Rs3.20. For OIL, Rs4.15 per cu. m was suggested.
Pandey didn’t say if the cabinet note was withdrawn.
He said the price of gas should be competitive and based on content of energy and its environmental impact, if any. However, he also said India, being deficit in natural resources, was a seller’s market and competitive pricing should not be attempted till supplies increased to match demand.
ONGC chairman and managing director R.S. Sharma has been seeking an immediate hike in the price of gas the firm sells under the regulated regime as it was incurring a Rs700 crore loss per year.
Director general of hydrocarbons V.K. Sibal said government may launch next round of bidding for oil and gas blocks by year-end or January.