Amit Shah chairs meeting on petroleum

Union Home Minister Amit Shah chaired a big-ticket inter-ministerial meeting on issues related to the petroleum sector at his North Block office on Tuesday.

A senior government official said the meeting revolved around the rich investments made by the State-owned oil and gas firms in Mozambique, an important trade partner in Africa. In 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi began his maiden Africa tour in Mozambique.

The meeting assumes significance as the government is yet to indicate any impending oil crisis that can arise in the wake of the American sanctions on Iran. Iran has warned that any military confrontation with the U.S. would push oil prices above $100 a barrel. India imports about 10% of its oil requirements from Iran, which have been halted post sanctions. Hence, alternative sources have to be explored.

The meeting was attended by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, Commerce and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal and Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

Representatives from the ONGC and Bharat Petroleum were also present.

Many Indian companies have acquired stakes in the coal and gas fields in Mozambique, including the acquisition by ONGC Videsh and Oil India Limited in the Rovuma Basin in the North of the country.

Last year, ONGC Videsh announced that Mozambique had given its approval for the development plan for the Golfinho-Atum natural gas field in the Area 1 block in the Basin.

Bharat Petroleum has proposed to invest $2.4 billion and Mr. Shah and others reviewed the deal before it goes to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Shah gave a detailed presentation on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and was told about the security arrangements being made for the annual Amarnath yatra, slated to begin on July 1.

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