Citing Red Tape, Mining Giant Quits Indian Exploration Projects

Move is major blow to India's bid to become less dependent on fuel imports

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Ian Waldie / Bloomberg / Getty Images

People walk through the foyer of the BHP Billiton Ltd. headquarters in Melbourne, Australia, on Aug. 7, 2013

Anglo-Australian mining giant BHP will withdraw from nine of its ten Indian oil and gas exploration projects, reportedly due to regulatory delays, Reuters says.

The move is a major setback for India, the world’s fourth biggest fuel importer. The country has been trying to reduce dependence on energy imports and boost domestic production.

“Sentiments are already negative and the exit of BHP Billiton is going to do more harm,” R.S. Sharma, former chairman of state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp told Reuters.

India’s efforts to attract foreign investors have been in trouble lately with companies like Walmart, Posco and ArcelorMittal abandoning projects citing policy hitches.