Despite major new natural gas discoveries in recent years, India continues to plan on gas imports to meet its future needs.
According to Oil and Gas Journal, India had approximately 38 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of proven natural gas reserves as of January 2010. The EIA estimates thatIndia produced approximately 1.4 Tcf of natural gas in 2009, a 20 percent increase over 2008 production levels. The bulk of India’s natural gas production comes from the western offshore regions, especially the Mumbai High complex, though the Bay of Bengal and its Krishna-Godavari (KG) fields are proving quite productive. The onshore fields in Assam, Andhra Pradesh, and Gujarat states are also significant sources of natural gas production.
Despite the steady increase in India’s natural gas production, demand has outstripped supply and the country has been a net importer of natural gas since 2004. India’s net imports reached an estimated 445 Bcf in 2009.
As in the oil sector, India’s state-owned companies account for the bulk of natural gas production. State-run companies Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Oil India Ltd. (OIL) are the main producers of natural gas in the country. According to government statistics,ONGC accounted for 69 percent of natural gas production in the country in 2007.
The Gas Authority of India Ltd. (GAIL) holds an effective monopoly on natural gas transmission and distribution activities.
Exploration and ProductionNatural Gas Imports
The outlook for India’s upstream natural gas sector is more positive than its upstream oil sector, although the IEA forecasts Indian natural gas peak production between 2020 and 2030.
India’s natural gas import demand is expected to increase in the coming years. To help meet this growing demand, a number of import schemes including both LNG and pipeline projects have either been implemented or considered.