Although India has been a great supporter of the Arab cause during all these years even she has also been hit hard by the increase in the price of oil. Before the oil crisis, India was spending only eleven per cent of her foreign exchange earnings on the import of oil from other countries. Now after the oil crisis, India is compelled to spend nearly 3/4rds of her hard-earned foreign exchange on the import of crude oil.
India like most of the other countries of the world has also been depending on Arab oil for her domestic needs. Out of India’s total annual requirement of 55 million tonnes of oil India only produces 2/5rd of it. The rest India has to import from the West Asian countries.
India, therefore, has drawn up a very ambitious plan to become self-sufficient in her oil needs. This crisis calls for giving top priority to developing nation resources in the field of oil exploration for achieving self-sufficiency. It was also decided to curb the consumption of petroleum products in the country for non-essential uses. Keeping this thing in view the price of petrol was increased to curb its use.
India is one of the oldest countries where oil was discovered. But the real exploration work for petroleum and setting up of oil refineries were taken up in hard only after India’s independence. Production of refined petroleum which was only two lakh tonnes in 1950-1951, increased to two hundred twenty eight lakh tonnes in 1977. Production of crude oil in 1977 was about one hundred one lakh tonnes through indigenous resources. Besides this one hundred forty-seven lakh tonnes of crude was imported to meet the country’s requirement in 1977.
There are two organizations engaged in the exploration and production of crude oil in the country. They are oil and Natural Gas Commission and the Oil India Limited. There are at present 10 refineries; seven in the Public Sector and three in the Private Sector.
Due to the severe oil crisis, India has started making intensive oil exploration in the country and off-shore. As a result, rich oil resources have been found under the sea near Bombay High. It is expected that a sufficient quantity of crude oil will be produced from Bombay High resources alone. The production started in 1976 when nearly five lakh tonnes of crude oil was produced from this source. By 1978 a rate of production of approximately 40 lakh tones per annum of crude oil form Bombay High was achieved. When oil production starts in full swing it will go a very long Way in making Indian self-sufficient in oil.
In the Bay of Bengal area also off-shore oil drilling is going on. It may also prove to be an oil-rich region. In Arunachal Pradesh oil has been struck at a place called Kharsangh. Here also the oil deposits are in substantial quantity. Another off-shore oil field at Bassein was found out. It was fully developed for commercial production by 1977-1978. Unfortunately, exploratory drilling In the basins of Kutch and Cauvery given to foreign contractors have not proved fruitful so far.
Thus we can see that all exploration in India is being carried on a war footing both onshore and off-shore. It is hoped that by 1985. India will be able to meet most for her requirements of oil and petroleum products from her own indigenous resources. This will be a very important achievement, which will not only make India self-sufficient but she would also be able to save her valuable foreign exchange. Thus we will not depend upon any foreign country for supply of oil in times of crisis like war.