Greater Noida (UP), Feb 12 (PTI) India has unleashed landmark policy reforms in the oil and gas sector with a view to raising domestic output and cut imports, at the same time making a smooth transition to cleaner fuels, Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik said Tuesday.

Naik, who presided over the “Golden Era” of petroleum sector one-and-half-decade back, said pathbreaking initiatives like acquisition of oil and gas properties, exploration licensing rounds, use of CNG and ethanol as fuel unveiled and plans for building strategic storages were unveiled during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA-1 between 1999 and 2004 are now being improvised for the country’s energy security.

Speaking at the concluding session of the Petrotech Conference here, Naik said he feels “nostalgic to recall” his own full term as the Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas under Vajpayee.

“That was the first time in India’s history when anyone led the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas for a full term of five years since 1962 when a separate Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas was established for the first time,” he said.

During 1999-2004, rapid reforms were the mantra with a view to providing an uninterrupted supply of clean fuel, he said. “Some friends call that era as the Golden Period of Petroleum sector.” The NDA-1 took the bold initiative of foraying into overseas, acquiring prime properties in Russia and Sudan, he said, recalling how the move was criticized then as buying “junk” but Vajpayee threw his weight behind and cleared the deals.

Since then, India has ventured into 21 countries spanning from Argentina to New Zealand in a bid to secure energy supplies for the world’s fastest growing economy.

Naik said blending of ethanol in petrol was launched during his time and so was CNG as automobile fuel. New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) to boost oil and gas hunt was launched, which now has evolved into Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP) under NDA-II, bringing into its fold an open acreage licensing policy, single licensing for all hydrocarbons and a shift to revenue sharing model.

“The Government of India has taken landmark policy decisions for addressing energy security of the country and at the same time make a smooth transition to cleaner fuels with an eye on environment and climate issues,” he said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.