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Cabinet sanctions reforms in natural gas marketing

Thursday, 08 Oct 2020
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The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved Natural Gas Marketing Reforms, taking another step to move towards gas-based economy. 
The objective of the policy is to prescribe standard procedure to discover market price of gas to be sold by gas producers, through a transparent and competitive process, permit affiliates to participate in bidding process for sale of gas and allow marketing freedom to certain field development plans (FDPs) where production sharing contracts already provide pricing freedom. 
The policy has also permitted affiliate companies to participate in the bidding process in view of the open, transparent and electronic bidding. This will facilitate and promote more competition in marketing of gas. However, rebidding will have to be done in case only affiliates participate, and there are no other bidders. 
The policy will also grant marketing freedom to the FDPs of those blocks in which production sharing contracts already provide pricing freedom. 
These reforms in the gas sector will further deepen and spur economic activities. The whole eco-system of policies relating to production, infrastructure and marketing of natural gas has been made more transparent with a focus on ease of doing business. 
These reforms will prove significant for Atmanirbhar Bharat by encouraging investments in the domestic production of natural gas and reducing import dependence. 
These reforms will prove to be another milestone in moving towards a gas-based economy by encouraging investments. The increased gas production consumption will help in improvement of the environment. 
It will also help in creating employment opportunities in the gas consuming sectors including MSMEs. The domestic production will further help in increasing investment in the downstream industries such as City Gas Distribution and related industries. 
The Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) which is investor-driven acreage auction process, has increased substantial acreages in the country. No blocks were allocated between 2010 and 2017. Since 2017 more than 1.6 lakh sq km area under 105 exploration blocks has been allocated.  An investment of more than Rs 70,000 crore is being made in the gas sector in the East coast. 
All discoveries and field development plans approved post-28 February 2019 have complete market and pricing freedom.
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