Category: Administered pricing regime (APR)

Gas – stop this obsession with higher price

Once again, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation [ONGC] – a Government of India [GOI] undertaking in the upstream oil and gas segment which accounts for over 70% of indigenous gas production of 80 million standard cubic meter per day [mmscmd] – has raised a hue and cry over the existing guidelines for pricing of natural gas. ONGC Chairman, Dinesh K Sarraf has argued that current natural gas price being significantly lower than the cost of production, for any company it does not make economic or commercial sense to invest in new fields or augmenting production from existing ones through fresh investment. He has requested ministry of petroleum and natural gas [MPNG] to review the existing domestic gas pricing formula and...
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RAISING ISSUES WITH GAS PRICING POLICY

The Government needs to re-look at the current pricing scheme for CBM production as it is not reaping returns. It must, instead, stick to extant formula-based guidelines The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved marketing and pricing freedom to contractors/producers of coal-bed methane (CBM), or natural gas from coal seams, to sell it at arms length price in the domestic market. To discover arms length price, a contractor has to now follow a fully transparent and competitive bidding process from amongst users “with the objective that the best possible price is realised for the gas without any restrictive commercial practices”. This decision has come in response to a scenario, whereby producers such as, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and...
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Gas pricing – stop that policy drift

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs [CCEA] has approved marketing and pricing freedom to contractors/producers of coal-bed methane [CBM] – or natural gas from coal seams – to sell it at arms length price in the domestic market. To discover arms length price, a contractor has to follow a fully transparent and competitive bidding process from amongst users “with the objective that the best possible price is realized for the gas without any restrictive commercial practices”. In the event, he cannot identify any buyer, sale can be made to any of its affiliates. Royalty and other dues to the government, however, shall be payable on the basis of Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell (PPAC) notified prices or selling prices, whichever...
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Impending oil shock – expedite subsidy reforms

After protracted battle within the bloc [as also with countries outside], members of the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries [OPEC] – a conglomeration of oil exporting nations from the middle east – have agreed to reduce their combined output by about 1.2 million barrels a day. Likewise, 11 non-OPEC countries led by Russia have decided to knock off over 500,000 barrels from their supplies. The agreement is effective from January 1, 2017. The agreement has to be viewed in the backdrop of a steep decline in the international price of crude oil from the peak of US$ 117 per barrel in June 2014 to a low of US$ 27 per barrel in February, 2016. During the current calendar, even though...
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Keep gas pricing formula-driven

On October 1, 2016, the Indian Government reduced the price of domestic gas by 18% to US$ 2.78 per million British thermal units [mBtu] on a net calorific value [NCV] basis. The public sector Oil and Natural Gas Corporation and Oil India Limited raised a hue and cry saying this is even lower than their cost of production at US$ 3.59 per mBtu/US$ 3.06 per mBtu. They want a “floor” below which the price should not be allowed to go. Their demand is flawed. Under the guidelines for domestic gas pricing in vogue since November 1, 2014, the price of this gas was based on a weighted average of prices at four global locations viz., Henry Hub [USA], NBP [National...
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Gas pricing – keep it formula driven

Following the downward revision in the price of domestic gas by 18% to US$ 2.5 per million British thermal unit [mBtu] – on gross calorific value [GCV] basis – from October 1, 2016, the two public sector undertakings [PSUs] in the upstream oil & gas segment viz., Oil and Natural Gas Corporation [ONGC] and Oil India Limited [OIL] have raised a big hue and cry about its likely impact on continued viability of their operations. The ONGC/OIL duo have contended that the revised price at US$ 2.78 per mBtu on net calorific value [NCV] basis [corresponding to US$ 2.5 per mBtu on GCV] is even lower than their cost of production at US$ 3.59 per mBtu and US$ 3.06 per...
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ONGC/OIL ‘unshackled’ – government must stay on course

For Oil and Natural Gas Corporation [ONGC] and Oil India Ltd [OIL] – central public sector undertakings [PSUs] in the business of oil and gas exploration and production, the year 2016-17 brings unprecedented cheer. The ministry of petroleum and natural gas [MPNG] has proposed that the government won’t be asking them to share the burden of subsidies on LPG and kerosene. To put things in perspective, a bit of background is in order. During 2004-2014, under directions from then government, ONGC and OIL offered discount on supply of crude to downstream oil PSUs viz., Indian Oil Corporation Limited [IOCL], Hindustan Petroleum Corporation [HPCL] and Bharat Petroleum Corporation [BPCL] to cover a portion of under-recoveries that latter incurred on sale of...
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Direct LPG subsidy transfer – a ‘torch-bearer’

The Guinness Book of World Records has recognized India’s direct LPG subsidy transfer as the world’s largest direct benefit transfer [DBT] program. The program nick-named PAHAL [Pratyaksha Hastaantarit Laabh] has within its ambit 146.2 million households [as on December 3, 2015]. While, the recognition is for it gigantic coverage and unprecedented success in reaching out the benefit through the length and breadth of the country, it is symptomatic of metaphorical changes that could come about in the way subsidies are administered and the big push that it could give to Modi’s reform agenda. For decades, Union government gave subsidy on LPG, diesel, kerosene etc by directing oil PSUs viz., Indian Oil Corporation Limited [IOCL], Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited [BPCL] and...
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New gas policy – attractive even without pricing freedom

A consultation paper floated by ministry of petroleum and natural gas [MPNG] for stakeholders comments has proposed granting freedom of pricing and marketing to producers of natural gas. This has led exploration and production [E&P] companies to believe that this will enable them to get much higher price than what they are getting under the present dispensation of administered pricing. Ever since a high power committee under Dr C Rangarajan submitted its report in December, 2012 [based on the formula recommended by it, price of domestic gas was US$ 8.4 per mBtu], E&P companies have been clamouring for market-based pricing. But, Modi – government which took charge in May, 2014 neither accepted Rangarajan formula nor their demand for market determined...
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