Race to Space - Space Activities Bill, 2017 - commercialization of space

Spearheaded by the Department of Space and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), India has developed low cost indigenous space capabilities for peaceful purposes over five decades. The proposed Space Activities Bill, 2017 (Bill), seeks to dismantle the Government monopoly on space and encourage private sector involvement. Will it lead to advancement of the space programme?

Globally, the space sector is no longer the preserve of Governments, as entry barriers to private players are being lifted[1]. The need for technological advancement, cost reduction and emerging opportunities such as mineral exploration of planets, are some of the reasons for encouraging the private sector. ISRO began commercialising certain space activities by opting for a public-private partnership model[2]. It has since seen many start-ups, but has yet to translate into a wider role for the private sector.  
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Part I - Electric Vehicles: Disrupting the Automotive Ecosystem

The Indian economy is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, with an increasing demand for energy. Given that historically India has relied on pollutant hydrocarbons to run its power plants and vehicles, there has been an increasing focus on setting ambitious ‘green’ targets, especially in light of the alarming levels of pollution in India. The Government of India (GoI) has actively encouraged the adoption of electric vehicles with the idea of shifting the production of new automotive vehicles from internal combustion engine models to electric vehicles by 2030.
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 Toll Operate and Transfer model - NHAI

With a view to monetise the operational national highways, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) introduced the Toll Operate and Transfer (TOT) model for partnership with private developers in the road sector. Under this model, NHAI passes on the toll collection rights and operation and maintenance obligations for 30 years to the private developer against payment of upfront, one-time, lump sum concession fees quoted by the private developer as part of the comprehensive bidding process. Projects under this model are awarded as a bundle of operational national highways, which allows the investor to offset the risks of one project against another. Since existing and operational roads are auctioned under the TOT model, it does not need developers with construction skills to participate.
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Through this short post, we seek to examine the current downtrend in oil prices, and what it means from an Indian context. As in any downtrend, the intent ought to be to maximise opportunities and isolate effects of any threats and the author accordingly seeks to analyse how these threats may be turned into opportunities. This short piece further examines how, despite the usual market rhetoric, India could position itself to take advantage of the current downturn.

 Global Response

In the wake of the downtrend, the immediate response of global exploration and production (E&P) companies was to hold off large capital investments in new projects and capital-intensive exploration activities. These decisions now stand vindicated as barrel prices have hovered around the US$45-50 mark. Several of the big companies made retrenchments and streamlined costs across the supply chain.
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The regulatory regime governing the exploration and production of hydrocarbons in India is a complex one that has undergone a plethora of change in recent times. This post examines the many developments as well as the past discourse that has set the context for change. .

Brief Background of the Regulatory Regime Governing the Hydrocarbon Sector

In post-1991 India, regulatory reforms in the hydrocarbon sector were implemented through a royalty-cost recovery regime initially under a set of Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) (Pre-NELP PSCs) and thereafter under the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP). Both regimes presented challenges for contractors as well as the Government. Cost recovery meant that the contractor would spend money upfront to explore and recover the same from the revenue generated from the block, then sharing any balance revenue, i.e. “profit”, with the Government.


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