Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily has asked the Vijay Kelkar committee to recommend ways for freeing natural gas prices by March 2017.
The Kelkar panel was appointed by Moily in the month of March to suggest ways for improving production of oil & gas in the country, thereby reducing India's dependency on imports by the year 2030.
While asking the committee to suggest road-map for freeing natural gas prices, Moily has now expanded the panel's terms of reference (ToR).
Under the new ToR, the minister has asked the Kelkar committee to prepare a "Roadmap for switching over to the market determined gas pricing at the end of 12th plan period."
At present, domestically produced gas is generally sold at a sub-market price of USD 4.2 per million British thermal unit. The Oil Ministry has approached the Cabinet for raising the price by over 60 per cent to USD 6.775 as per a complex international hub and LNG price based formula suggested by Prime Minister-appointed Rangarajan panel.
The oil minister has asked the panel headed by former oil secretary Vijay Kelkar to explicate a roadmap on Rangarajan panel's recommendation of freeing gas price in 3 to 5 years.
Moreover, the panel has also been asked to "give views on the recommendations of Rangarajan Committee on Moving from Production Sharing Contracts to revenue sharing contracts" and to suggest "steps to be taken for development of gas transportation infrastructure for establishing countrywide market place". The committee has been asked to submit its reports within six months' time.