India Tightens Scrutiny of Oil, Gas Fields to Boost Output

India has intensified monitoring of oil and gas fields handed to state explorers as the South Asian nation seeks to cut dependence on imports and boost local output, oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Wednesday. India, the world's third-biggest oil importer, ships in about 80 percent of its needs and Prime Minister Narendra Modi set a target in 2015 to cut dependence on oil imports to 67 percent by 2020.

The country's oil and gas output has been stagnant for years while the nation's fuel demand is rising with its economic expansion, hitting federal finances with an import bill worth billions of dollars. The fields, given to Oil and Natural Gas Corporation and Oil India Ltd prior to the opening up of the sector to private players, account for about 70 percent of the country's oil and gas output.

"We have now started monitoring those fields and have given new benchmarks to the National Oil Companies to increase production," Pradhan said at an industry event. The global benchmark of recovery of oil from reservoirs is 35-40 percent and for gas is 55-70 percent, he said.

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