The year 2018 marks the start of the first round of the bidding under the new Hydrocarbon Exploration Licensing Policy (HELP). HELP has been introduced as an investor friendly policy aiming to do away with the shortcomings of the previous upstream oil and gas concession based on a production share regime. While the policy seems to have generated a lot of interest in the foreign upstream oil and gas companies, the year ahead will reflect whether this interest fructifies into actual investment. Apart from HELP, the proposed consolidation of the central public sector undertakings engaged in the Oil and Gas sector, which commenced in 2017 with Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) initiating the acquisition of Government of India’s stake in Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) may witness a number of such high-stake mergers/ consolidation designed to integrate numerous public sector oil and gas companies under 3 or 4 larger public sector undertakings.
- Venkatesh Raman Prasad, Partner, J. Sagar Associates.