In July, 2005, as chief minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi announced a discovery of an estimated 20 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of gas by Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation Limited (GSPC), a state PSU, in the Kakinada block of the Krishna-Godavari(K-G) Basin. It was estimated at that time to value about $ 50 billion. Chief minister Modi described this as the country’s largest reserve of natural gas in the K-G basin.
The announcement shook the whole nation, even the then petroleum minister Mani Shankar Aiyar also fell victim to the Modi’s magical hype. Though experts like VK Sibal, the then director general, Hydrocarbons, Government of India, were skeptical about the tall claims, Modi described the finding as historic for India’s Hydrocarbon sector and great leap forward for the country.
10 years on, there has been no major talks about the historic finding. Narendra Modi is now Prime Minister of this country. But, the gas is not to be seen anywhere. This is not a charge leveled by any leader from the opposition. But an equally historic finding by the country’s premier audit agency Comptroller and Auditor General (C& AG) of India which securitized the GSPC’s performance.
The CAG slammed the ‘celebrated’ GSPC for its KG basin noise for the well is yet to produce the gas, a decade after Modi made ‘ historic ‘ announcement of the ‘country’s largest finding’. The C&AG noted that without any experience and expertise in exploration and production, the GSPC acquired many blocks and surrendered them later, leading to writing off of a whopping sum of Rs 2,524,65 crore. ” The Company went ahead acquiring overseas blocks during 2006-10 mainly as an operator with considerably high participating interests without any expertise overseas,” the report remarked.
Commenting on the performance of the GSPC, C&AG said,” the company’s borrowing jumped from Rs 7126.67 crore as on March 2011 to Rs 19,716 as on March 2015, a jump of 177 per cent,” while its interest burden rose to Rs 1804.06 crore in 2014-15 from Rs 981.71 crore in 2011-12. C&AG submitted its report to Gujarat Assembly on March 31, 2016.