NEW DELHI – India's new oil minister said Monday that his ministry will make efforts to attract investment from overseas energy companies and expedite domestic oil and gas exploration activity, at a time when major global energy companies have been reluctant to commit to projects in the country.
"About $50 billion is waiting to be invested in this country, and exploration of oil and gas is part of that," said Veerappa Moily, speaking to reporters after taking charge of the ministry. Mr. Moily was previously India's power minister.
Some of the world's largest explorers – Chevron Corp., ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil Corp. – haven't participated in India's nine auction rounds due to the slow pace of approvals and India's tight control over prices and marketing of oil and gas.
"We need to open up the policy environment," he said, without elaborating.
Mr. Moily said he would expedite the "decision making process" and also encourage Indian energy companies to aggressively pursue acquisitions of assets overseas.
Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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