Crude oil prices racing past $80, while disturbing, is a wakeup call for India to look towards self-sufficiency. This may sound impossible, but as they say if you ask for the moon you will at least get the stars. India is a net oil importer, the world’s third largest, and there’s no reason for this precarious situation to continue, given the incendiary state of the Middle East. Many governments have tried to make India less dependent, but with little success.
Given India’s declining rupee due to slackness in exports after the Goods and Services Tax was introduced, Prime Minister Narendra Modi must take a serious view of imports, and start exploration on a war footing. India has its own resources which for some reason has never been fully exploited. Some experts have said around 75 per cent of India’s sedimentary basins are yet to be adequately explored, and of the 26 known ones, only seven are producing oil and gas at present. So crude resources of about 15 trillion cubic feet at India’s command are yet to be produced.
Why is this so? An entirely plausible reason could be that imports lead to a lot of kickbacks. If that is so, the Prime Minister needs to take steps to remedy it. It is also said that India has at least 91 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas reserves and about 63 trillion cubic feet of recoverable shale gas. The PM is known to hold monthly reviews of the performance of various ministries. The oil ministry must be held accountable for its slackness in exploration.