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Looking Beyond the Boundaries
From 9th largest in 2010, India is poised to balloon in size and become 5th largest global economy according to economic commentators. For the rapidly growing country of India’s size, the energy needs are going to grow enormously. Anupam Mathur, Executive Director & CEO, Tata Petrodyne Ltd (TPL), talks about the company’s inorganic growth and impresses on the urgent need to invest into overseas assets to meet the country’s ever growing requirement.

Anupam Mathur, ED & CEO, TPL, has been associated with the company since 2010 and has seen the company’s role getting transformed from support provider to the group companies to a separate entity. He aims to steer the growth of the company to play a critical role to secure energy supplies for India’s rapidly growing economy. In an exclusive chat with Offshore World Mathur articulates, "There has been a radical change in the oil and gas industry in India in the past twenty years since this was a closely guarded industry where only state owned companies were able to operate in the upstream sector."
However with the change in market scenario and globalisation the Indian government opened the doors to the private players to venture into the multibillion dollar industry which has brought phenomenal shift in the Indian upstream sector, he adds.

Evolution and Growth of TPL
It was in 1993 that Tata Power set up Tata Petrodyne Ltd (TPL) as a part of its backward integration strategy to secure the energy resources for the power and fertiliser businesses. Over the years the company has gained significant experience in the Exploration and Production (E&P) activity working closely with conglomerates like India’s state owned Oil & Natural Gas Corporation and also developing fields overseas. The company is working in consortiums in the fields in the North Sea, UK and Indonesia, and has 100 per cent participating interest in a field in Australia. "Though we are looking to strengthen our position in the Indian market, we are equally active in acquiring and developing overseas assets," he comments.

Government Initiatives
Mathur appreciates the policy reforms and initiatives undertaken by the Indian government to encourage investments and participation of private sector companies in developing hydrocarbon assets. He says that these have indeed set a positive platform, however, it is still easier to execute the projects overseas than in India because of the bureaucratic grind one needs to go through. He complements that introduction of New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP), Coal Bed Mathane (CBM) policy which have been a boon for the industry and shale gas policy in the pipeline will be another shot in the arm for the growth of the Indian hydrocarbon sector. The advent of international companies has exposed the Indian market to many new technologies and opened plethora of opportunities for the foreign players. He cites the example of gas find in the Krishna-Godavari (KG) basin and the increasing interest to develop deepwater and ultradeepwater assets.

Decline in the Era of Easy Oil
Mathur asserts on the fact that the era of easy oil is already gone and it may not be economical to monetise the smaller fields at the current oil prices. He further elucidates about the declining production from aging fields and cites, "Indian fields have reached the maturity levels and are observing the decline in production." He advocates the need to invest in overseas assets as an imperative at this juncture when Indian economy is on a rapid expansion mode. "I am of the opinion that of the 2.9 trillion that have been allocated by the Indian government for development of upstream and downstream hydrocarbon sectors, majority must be used for overseas acquisitions as there have not been any significant discoveries in India over the past years." He is confident that acquiring assets beyond the Indian boundaries is important for India to become self-sufficient.

Current Projects
Current production of TPL stands at 3500 barrel oil equivalent (boe) from its four producing blocks, two of which are in India and the other two in Indonesia. Through its subsidiary Dian Energy BV (DBEV), TPL has acquired 100 per cent interest in O&G NewCo1 BV (NewCo), from Oil & Gas Equity Holdings, a 100 per cent subsidiary of Shell Technology Venture Fund BV. TPL has two blocks in Indonesia located in highly prospective South Sumatra basin, which is a back arc basin consisting of a number of structural sub basins formed due to an initial extension phase during the early Tertiary times.
All the blocks are close to existing production infrastructure. Feasibility studies at the Mrangin block, have unleashed the availability of hydrocarbons, and TPL plans to drill two wells towards the end of the current calendar year to confirm the true potential. This field has several small fields, which may be developed individually or as a cluster which will completely depend on the true potential and the cost economics.
There is one more block close to Mrangin block where TPL plans to spud two wells to assess the potential. "We plan to double the production from Tampi field in Indonesia in the next six months," Mathur informs. Along with Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL), TPL identified the opportunity in the North Sea block where the company has 25 per cent participating interest. This field was identified in 1984 but not monetised due to then prevailing low gas rates. The development has been carried out but due to change in ownership the production has been delayed and likely to be commenced during next calendar year. "This is a gas field and will help us gain the expertise in the field of gas production, something which TPL hasn't been exposed to so far, and thus opens further avenues for us to explore," Mathur states. He informs “TPL was allocated blocks during NELP VIII but these are still at very nascent stages, and we are carrying out feasibility studies to estimate the potential reserves."

Future Plans
TPL aspires to set its foot now in Latin America and the team went for a recce to Venezuela to explore the prospects. So far TPL has not entered into the shale gas and alternate hydrocarbon resources, but the company is open to venture into new areas and develop the fields jointly with the right partner. It is aggressively moving towards expanding its organic and inorganic footprint and is looking at acquiring assets that are close to production stage to create cash flow as well as exploration assets.