Have contracts used in the oil and gas sector enabled companies like Reliance Industries to siphon off more than their fair share?

In February 1997, faced with a critical shortage of energy, India’s policy makers put together a new exploration licensing policy (NELP) that aimed to boost private investment in the oil and gas sector.

Since 1999, when the policy came into effect, both private and public-sector oil and gas companies have participated in eight rounds of bidding for exploration and production licences auctioned by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. The 235 exploration blocks that have been auctioned have led to the investment of US$15.88 billion in the sector.

The Indian and international companies that were awarded the licences have been bound by production-sharing contracts put in place to ensure a balanced and effective partnership between the government of India, which owns the oil and gas resources, and the companies that undertake exploration and production.

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