The Oklahoma Corporation Commission on Tuesday cemented its relationship with its counterparts in India.
The agencies signed a memorandum of understanding outlining their plans to exchange information about best regulatory practices for the next three years.
Oklahoma regulators have worked with India's Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board since the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners paired them in 2008 as part of a program organized by the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.
The groups have visited each other in the intervening years. Tuesday's agreement means that relationship will last another three years.
The regulatory board from India hopes to capitalize on Oklahoma's 100-plus years of experience overseeing oil and natural gas production, Chairman S. Krishnan said.
Krishnan said he wants insight on issues regulators will face in India, even though petroleum producers face different challenges and opportunities there.
He hopes he and his colleagues can offer insight that benefits Oklahoma regulators as well.
Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner Bob Anthony said he believes the arrangement can be beneficial to both parties.
He said India already offers a great success story for natural gas, pointing to a court mandate for the use of natural gas in public transportation because of pollution concerns.
A five-man delegation from India arrived in Oklahoma last week. Their visit included briefings from state regulators and a trip to a SandRidge Energy Inc. drilling operation near Cherokee.
India's regulatory board was created by Parliament in 2007 to promote competitive markets for oil and natural gas while protecting the interests of consumers.
Krishnan said it is expensive for government-run and private companies in India to drill for oil and gas, so regulators are most concerned about ensuring access to pipelines that aid development of the country's resources.
“We are basically a downstream regulator,” he said.
India has been reliant on coal and imported crude oil, but the country is intent on increasing its use of natural gas, Krishnan said.
He said India needs infrastructure to make natural gas competitive with oil and other “heavier hydrocarbons.”