Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Dharmendra Pradhan has said that Energy is a global industry and oil is truly a global commodity, and hence our engagement with the global energy community has to be continuous. Speaking at CERA Week conference here, he said that India cannot work in isolation, as from a global perspective, global market shifts, technological disruptions, financial markets & paper trading, and possible disruption in the form of energy transition are shaping the future of energy security. He said that any action on energy must take into account the global consensus achieved by the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the “Paris Agreement” of 2015 and decisions of the G20 Leaders’ meeting in Hamburg in 2017 that regard energy security as one of the guiding principles for energy transition. He appreciated the efforts of IHS team for bringing the flagship event out of Houston and making India its home away from home for the second time.
Pradhan said that India has taken a lead in International Solar Alliance (ISA) with 60 solar-rich countries. Two weeks back as part of the International Solar Alliance gathering in New Delhi, Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned that ISA can potentially replace OPEC as the key block of supplier of energy in the world. With the falling prices of solar, we can easily achieve his idea of “One World, One Sun, One Grid”. He said that We are trying to accomplish Hon’ble PM’s vision of the energy sector – of ensuring energy access, energy security, energy affordability and energy sustainability. As the third largest consumer of energy and one of the fastest growing – in a volatile global environment, we cannot just rely on one source of energy. As Hon’ble Prime Minister had mentioned last year, like horses in Sun God’s chariot, India will harness all sources of available energy -solar, wind, hydro, coal, oil, gas, nuclear, bio-fuels etc.
Mentioning about the recent progress made on the reforms and implementation of initiatives, Pradhan said that in our efforts towards providing universal access of clean cooking fuel to residences, we have the Prime Minister Ujjwala Scheme, under which we had kept a target of reaching 50 million households in 3 years’ time. We achieved that milestone ahead of schedule and increased the target to 80 million. He said that besides moving to a cleaner fuel, Ujjwala has had a major impact on the health of rural women and children. It has empowered poor women also by addressing the issue of “time poverty” and encouraged them to invest in their human capital. Through innovative delivery models, use of technology, and a policy of directed subsidy – we have been able to expand the consumer market for energy.
The Minister said that the upstream licensing round under Discovered Small Field and the Open Acreage Licensing Policy has been successfully completed. OLAP under HELP is now a continuous process backed by a transparent data repository. Cabinet has also approved the policy to incentivize enhanced oil recovery which will further help boost upstream activity in India. He said that in a big boost to the City Gas Distribution (CGD) network expansion, in the 9th round of bidding, 86 licenses have been offered and bid out. 50% of country’s population will soon have access to local gas network, which will boost our efforts toward providing clean air in our cities and towns. India has leapfrogged from the use of BS IV to the launch of BS VI grade fuel. Even though the original target for BS VI roll-out was 2024, we advanced that to 2020 and have now rolled it out in the NCT in 2018 itself.
Pradhan said that we also have been giving a big push towards harnessing bio fuel with the launch of National Bio Fuel Policy of 2018. This will also contribute to PM’s commitment of doubling the farmer’s income by 2022. He mentioned about the test flight being flown from Dehradun to New Delhi with a blend of 25% bio jet fuel & 75% ATF in August this year. A scheme to promote compressed bio-gas in a big way has been launched. Expansion of the gas grid continues in the East, North-East and Southern parts of the country and several LNG regasification terminals are coming up. In the last 2 years, national oil companies have made significant acquisitions in some of the world-class producing blocks in Russia, the UAE and Oman. He said furthering the agenda for energy security, our cabinet has recently approved the second phase of building strategic oil reserves in Odisha and Karnataka. This will be done in a public-private partnership mode.
Pradhan said that in past one year, severe head winds have been faced by way of rising oil prices. Since the last CERA week in New Delhi, crude prices have gone up 50% in US Dollar terms and 70% in Indian Rupee terms. Much of it is to do with geo-political events imposed on the world. He solicited the suggestions towards further improving the investment climate in the oil and gas sector. He said our industry and research institutes need to come together to develop technology for CO2 Capture, Hydrogen Fuel cells, Gas Hydrates, Hydrogen-Injected CNG, Coal to gas etc. He expressed the hope that the conference on “India’s Energy Transition: Evolution or Revolution?” to have stimulating and productive deliberations, which will help India drawing from the rich international expertise and experience.