Economy

India misses crude oil production target again

Arvind Jayaram | Updated on November 15, 2017

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Crude oil prices are shooting through the roof, but India may have to continue to rely significantly on imports.

India's oil exploration firms have missed their targets yet again. After committing to produce 206.8 million tonnes of crude oil in 2007-12, the 11th Plan period, they actually produced only 176.9 million tonnes.

This is an achievement of about 85.6 per cent vis-à-vis the target. The output figures for the latest year are provisional.

Producers however, did up their output by 6.3 per cent compared to the previous Plan period. Indian exploration and production firms also produced more crude oil in 2011-12 than the previous fiscal. However, this will be little consolation to the nation, which had to resort to more costly crude imports to meet its energy needs.

The country's imports of crude oil have shot up 34 per cent to 163.5 million tonnes in four years. But the import bill has shot up by twice this sum and is up 67 per cent to Rs 4,55,909 crore in 2010-11. This captures the impact of higher global crude oil prices.

Though official data on India's crude imports in 2011-12 are not yet available, Commerce Minister Mr Anand Sharma recently indicated they have gone up. India relies on imported crude for about 80 per cent of its total requirement.

Crude oil production in the country stood at 38.1 million tonnes in 2011-12, 1 per cent higher than the previous fiscal.

Flagship explorer ONGC was primarily responsible for the slippage against production targets, as per the data, with its output of 23.7 million tonnes — 3 per cent below the Ministry's estimate.

The Fortune 500 company's performance was also worse than the previous year, when it produced 24.4 million tonnes.

In sharp contrast, sister public sector oil and gas firm Oil India Ltd exceeded expectations for the one-year period, notching up output of 3.8 million tonnes of crude, 7.4 per cent higher than the target.

Private and joint venture explorers also helped to make up for some of the shortfall in ONGC production, with their fields producing a combined 10.7 million tonnes of crude in 2011-12, as per the provisional data.

Achieving the domestic crude oil production target has always been an uphill task, with historic fields in decline and new finds proving elusive.

arvind.jayaram@thehindu.co.in

Published on April 27, 2012

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