Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India, is trying to promote foreign investment in his country.

India and is offering incentives to convince BHP Billiton Ltd. to stay invested in the country’s oil and gas sector.

Melbourne, Australia-based BHP said in October it would relinquish nine of its 10 Indian exploration blocks after India’s Defense Ministry denied exploration permits, some for up to five years.

The exploration blocks were awarded between 2008 and 2010 under India’s New Exploration and Licensing Policy, known as NELP.

India may offer BHP a partnership with state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp. as an incentive, an oil ministry official said.

“We are talking to them… We are trying to work out something that we can give them,” Press Trust of India on Wednesday quoted the oil ministry official, Aranane Giridhar, Joint Secretary for Exploration, as telling reporters on the sidelines of the 12th Petro-India 2013 conference, UPI said.

The report said on proposal is to allow the Indian state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp to buy up to 75% of the BHP blocks and for it to be responsible for obtaining the necessary approvals.

Australia’s Santos also said this month it wants to give up its two oil and gas exploration blocks in the Bay of Bengal awarded in 2007. The company cited delays in getting approvals to start work because of defense ministry restrictions along the maritime boundary with Bangladesh.

“[T]he BHP and Santos pullouts, ahead of India’s planned auction of 86 oil and gas exploration blocks in January under its 10th round of New Exploration Licensing Policy, is a setback for the Oil Ministry’s effort to attract foreign investors to boost domestic production,” UPI said.

In July, South Korea steelmaker Posco’s said it plans to cancel a $5.3 billion steel mill project, UPI reported, and Luxembourg-based steelmaker ArcelorMittal’s dropped plans to build a second major steel plant in Odisha.


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