New Delhi: The government plans to import ethanol after domestic supplies fell short of the quantities needed for blending in petrol, Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily said Sunday.
The government had last year decided to dope petrol with 5 per cent ethanol to cut India's oil imports that runs into USD 150 billion.
Addressing the National Editors' Conference, he said tenders floated for sourcing ethanol got only half of the 100 crore litres of supplies needed for the programme.
"We are going for global tenders to procure ethanol," he said adding the government plans to supply petrol with 5 per cent ethanol all over the country by June 30.
A gazette notification has been issued directing oil marketing companies to implement the programme, he said.
The Minister said direct cash transfer of subsidy to domestic LPG and PDS kerosene consumers will be introduced in 2013-14.
Direct Subsidy Transfer, wherein cash subsidy will be transfered to bank accounts of beneficiaries for them to purchase fuel at market price, is proposed to be implemented in three phases.
In Phase-I, Direct Subsidy Transfer will be implemented in 51 districts identified by Planning Commission where substantial Aadhaar penetration has already been achieved.
In Phase-II, entire 18 states shall be covered where UIDAI is currently enrolling customers. In Phase-III, the coverage will be for 17 states where National Population Registry under Home Ministry is conducting enrolment, he said.
Moily said domestic crude oil production is expected to reach 42.31 million tonnes during 2012-13 which would be 11.08 per cent higher than previous year. The increase in production is mainly on account of higher crude oil production from Cairn India's Barmer fields in Rajasthan where current oil production is 170,000 barrels per day.
The production of natural gas during 2012-13 is expected to be 117.8 million standard cubic metres per day which is about 9 per cent lower than the previous year mainly due to lower production from Reliance Industries' KG-D6 deepwater fields.
"I may mention that during visit of the Prime Minister of UK on February 1, UK's BP Group and RIL announced combined investments in excess of USD 5 billion for the development of KG-D6 block over the next 3-5 years," he said.
Moily said a policy for exploration of shale gas will be announced shortly.
Also, a revised coal-bed methane (CBM) policy is under active consideration of the Government to enable expeditious commencement of production in case of captive blocks.
"There are significant prospects for exploration of CBM as India is having the fourth largest proven coal reserves in the world," he said.