“Govt should free crude oil prices for producers”: says Vedanta Chairman

Exclusive Interview

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Crude oil rates (for producers) need to be freed and should be available to producers and explorers at an international price, said Vedanta Resources chairman Anil Agarwal in an exclusive interview. He said that the company has envisaged about US $4.4 billion in exploration in India in next three to four years time period in the existing as well as new oil blocks even as it won 41 oil blocks that were finalised today by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. 

Agarwal said: “we get to sell crude oil produced by us at a upfront discount of 10 per cent as determined by the Oil Pricing Committee of the government.” Claiming that its recently acquired Cairn India sold oil at unimaginably low price as compared to global market,  he said that government needs to open all mines including coal and  gold mines for India to capitalise on its vast resources of hydro carbons as well as minerals.

“From becoming a market we can become a exporter. All international crude producers see India as a big market while we are sitting on a pile of natural resources,” Agarwal said.  Vedanta has, early this year won the Chattisgarh gold mine which was the first gold mine to be opened up for composite licence bidding. The gold mine is said to have around 2700 kg of gold. “” We are awaiting environmental clearances for the project” he said. Vedanta  is also eyeing the neighbouring Jharkhand gold mines.

He said that world over the crude was being produced at almost USD 7 per barrel and the government taxes take the prices to a higher levels. He did not rule the setting up of a downstream refinery in the coming time period. “That was the normal course”, he said. Answering a query he said that the even as there was talk of HPCL starting a refinery near Barmer, where Cairn India had its production. “We are keen but we are waiting for the government to approach us,” he said.

Vedanta today won over 41 oil blocks out of the total 55 oil blocks opened up for exploration. The government today finalised the contracts of the oil blocks under Open Acreage Licensing Programme bid round 1. Following which 55 oil blocks were offered. Vedanta said that the company was targeting to atleast one per cent of the GDP of India in the coming years. He said that he was keen to enter all mining and exploratory areas in the country which had vast natural resources and was waiting to be tapped.