The domestic natural gas price notified at $1.79 per unit for the first half of 2021-22, lowest since the institution of the modified Rangarajan formula, is unfavourable for domestic oil and gas producers and will significantly impact their financial performance, according to ICRA.
At such low gas prices, gas production remains a loss-making proposition for most fields for the upstream producers notwithstanding some decline in oil field services and equipment costs, the rating agency said.
The absence of a floor and sustained low prices as has been seen in the past few years post implementation of the modified Rangarajan formula makes exploration and production unviable even for benign geologies, it said.
“Accordingly, low natural gas prices remain negative for the upstream sector adversely impacting revenues, profitability and cash accruals and the incumbents have petitioned the GoI to provide a floor price for gas prices,” said Sabyasachi Majumdar, Senior Vice President at ICRA.
He added that going forward, the supply glut is expected to keep prices of domestic gas low in the near-to-medium term leading to poor returns even as domestic gas producers such as ONGC and RIL-BP ramp up gas production significantly.