India exported petroleum products worth $86.21 billion during the first 11 months of the current financial year ending March 2023, which accounts for more than 21 per cent of India’s total commodity exports.
In contrast, the world’s third-largest energy consumer imported crude oil and petroleum products worth a whopping $193.47 billion during the same period, data from the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas (MoPNG) said.
The higher import bill is due to the high prices of crude oil in the international markets due to the Russia-Ukraine war in 2022. Between August 2022 and March 31, 2023, the price of crude (Indian Basket) witnessed significant volatility and changed from $97.4 per barrel to $82.28.
During April-January of FY23, India imported 192.45 million tonnes (MT) of crude oil, and almost 17 MT of liquefied natural gas (LNG), compared to 212.38 MT of crude and 23.42 MT of LNG in the entire FY22. India meets 85 per cent of its crude and about 50 per cent of its natural gas requirement through imports.
Reducing import dependence
In a bid to cut down import dependence, the government has adopted a five-pronged strategy comprising increasing domestic production of oil and gas, promoting energy efficiency and conservation measures, giving thrust on demand substitution, promoting biofuels and other alternate fuels/renewables, EV charging facilities, and refinery process improvements.
Various steps have been taken to increase the production of domestic crude oil and bring down imports. These include Discovered Small Field Policy, Reforms in Hydrocarbon Exploration, and Licensing Policy for enhancing domestic exploration and production of Oil & Gas 2019.
Besides, the MopNG has launched the Natural Gas Marketing Reforms 2020 policy to promote and incentivise enhanced recovery methods for Oil and Gas, Redevelopment of existing matured fields and development of new/marginal fields, Revival of Sick Wells, improving recovery factors through the implementation of Improved Oil Recovery (IOR) and Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) techniques, etc.
The government has also provided functional freedom to national oil companies and promoted wider private sector participation by streamlining approval processes through electronic single window mechanisms.