Dharmendra Pradhan says India is all for a reasonable and responsive pricing of crude

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Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Steel Dharmendra Pradhan has said that India is all for a reasonable and responsive pricing of crude. Speaking at Swarajya Webiner Event on Aatmanirbhar Bharat today, he said that gone are the days of monopoly, and the producers should take into account the consumers’ viewpoint also. The Minister said that India is currently using only 6% of the world’s primary energy and the per capita consumption of energy is still one-third of the global average. But, this is rapidly changing. India will drive the growth in global energy demand as its energy consumption is projected to grow at 3 percent per annum up to 2040, faster than all major economies of the world. India’s share of total global primary energy demand is set to roughly double to about 11% by 2040, driven by strong economic development.

Pradhan said that Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi has envisioned a clear roadmap for India’s energy justice, which rests on five key enablers of energy availability and accessibility to all, energy affordability to the poorest of the poor, energy efficiency, energy sustainability and energy security. He said that Prime Minister has highlighted seven key drivers of India’s energy strategy going forward.  “Apart from achieving the renewable energy target of 450 gigawatts by 2030, India will focus on developing in an integrated manner a gas-based economy, cleaner use of fossil fuels, greater reliance on domestic fuels to drive biofuels, increasing the contribution of electricity, moving into emerging fuels, like hydrogen and promoting digital innovation across all energy systems. Our energy agenda is inclusive, market-based and climate-sensitive. We have adopted multiple pathways for energy transition.”, he added.

The Minister said that India is in the midst of a major transformative shift in its energy sector to end energy poverty in India.  “While doing so, our twin objectives are to enhance availability and affordability of clean fossil fuels and green fuels and to reduce the carbon footprint through a healthy mix of all commercially-viable energy sources.  Our Government is also committed to reducing the emissions’ intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35% from 2005 levels.  We are consistently taking energy policy initiatives. We are developing next generation infrastructure based on five guiding key enablers of energy availability and accessibility to all, energy affordability to the poorest of the poor, efficiency in energy use, energy sustainability to combat climate change as a responsible global citizen, and security for mitigating global uncertainties.”, he mentioned.

Talking about the Atmanirbhar Bharat, Pradhan said that India has faced the COVID-19 situation with fortitude and a spirit of self-reliance. He said that the Five pillars of Atmanirbhar Bharat focus on Economy, Infrastructure, System, Vibrant Demography and Demand. “The Aatmanirbhar Bharat package and Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Yojana have provided relief to all sections of the society and provided necessary support to all sectors during the Covid-19 pandemic. These will enable India to bounce back quickly and start scripting the next chapter of Indian growth story. In the midst of coronavirus pandemic, Indians resolve to become self-reliant and ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ is on the mind of India. This dream is turning into a pledge. Aatmanirbhar Bharat has become a ‘mantra’ for the 130 crore Indians today.”, he added.

The Minister said that ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ is about transforming India from being just a passive market to an active manufacturing hub at the heart of global value chains. “An Aatmanirbhar Bharat is a strong Bharat with robust manufacturing sector, self-reliant yet globally integrated economy. A Self-reliant India will be a Force Multiplier for the global economy. The mindset of free India should be ‘vocal for local’. We should appreciate our local products, if we don’t do this then our products will not get the opportunity to do better and will not get encouraged. Today, Multi-national Companies from across the world are coming to India. We have to move forward with the ‘mantra’ of Make in India as well as Make for World.”

Talking about efforts to shift towards a gas-based economy, Pradhan said that it is a vital low carbon pathway enabling the energy transition. “We have already laid over 16,800 km long gas pipeline network, while an additional 14,700-km gas pipelines are under different stages of construction. Largest ever roll-out of city gas distribution networks across India has been undertaken to enable inclusive growth. Plans have been chalked out to provide Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Piped Natural Gas (PNG) infrastructure in most parts of the country. The CNG and PNG infrastructure will be provided in 407 districts. PNG connection for household has increased from 25 lakh in 2014 to 63 lakh now and is being further provided to 40 million and similarly CNG connection has increased from 938 in 2014 to 2350 now is being further put up to 10,000 CNG stations. After expanding these facilities, 70 per cent of the population will get clean energy. We are also making natural gas easily available at doorsteps for users through mobile dispensing.  Recently, we have laid the foundation stone for the first 50 LNG fueling stations across the golden quadrilateral and major National Highways. Our goal is to set up 1000 LNG stations within 3 years. An estimated investment of 66 billion US dollars is lined.”, he said.

The Minister indicated that despite our various initiatives, including transition to renewables and other alternate energies, India’s oil demand would double and gas demand would triple by 2040. “To ensure energy security for our economic growth, we are expanding our refining capacity from the current 250 MMTPA to 450 MMTPA. This will help India maintain its self-sufficiency in supply of petroleum products.”, he added.

Pradhan said that we have successfully transitioned to Bharat – VI emission norms since April 2020. This initiative is part of our effort in curbing emissions in the road transport sector, which in turn will lead to better air quality for citizens across the country. He talked about the National Biofuel Policy (NBP), 2018 to promote biofuels in mass scale, with a target of 20% ethanol blending in petrol and 5% of bio-diesel by 2030. The Minister informed that the ethanol-blending percentage has risen from 0.67% in 2012-13 to now 6%. Twelve 2G Ethanol Bio-Refineries in 11 States are being set up with an overall capacity of 1100 kilo litre per day (KLPD). He said that we are also working towards conversion of Used Cooking Oil to Biodiesel in select cities.

Talking about the roadmap for SATAT (Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation), Pradhan said that it is an important initiative of government, which targets to setup 5000 compressed biogas plants with a target of 15 MMT per year with an investment potential for US $ 20 billionIndian oil marketing companies are offering to private entrepreneurs assured price and offtake guarantee.  He said that the SATAT initiative is in line with the goals of AatmaNirbhar BharatSwachh Bharat Mission and boosting MSME sectorReserve Bank of India has included CBG projects under Priority Sector that will help in getting loan for setting up CBG plants. He informed that a total of 1500 CBG plants are at various stages of execution.

Talking about increased push to adopt hydrogen fuel mix, he said that last month, we launched the Hydrogen enriched-Compressed Natural Gas (HCNG) plant and dispensing station in Delhi and also rolled out the first set of buses with HCNG.

Pradhan said that Our Government set out a road map for reducing India’s crude oil imports by 10% by 2022. We are in the process of developing new strategies and initiatives to achieve this target. Enhancing indigenous oil and gas production is our utmost priority.

Regarding the several transformational policy reforms undertaken to revitalize the E&P ecosystem and establish a conducive business environment, Pradhan mentioned about the Discovered Small Field Policy, HELP, OALP, Setting up of National Data Repository, Policy to Promote and Incentivize Enhanced Recovery Methods for Oil and Gas, Policy framework for exploration and exploitation of unconventional hydrocarbons and so forth. “Since 2014 onward, Government has been progressively moving towards marketing and pricing freedom regime of natural gas. We have allowed complete pricing and marketing freedom for domestic gas discoveries done after February 2019 and Premium Price for Gas from difficult area (Deep water, Ultra deep and HP-HT) area. “

The Minister said that in the oil & gas sector, we see open spaces for Start –Up in both within the existing domain of oil & gas as well as upcoming areas like Fuel Cells, Solar Energy, Hydrogen, Alternative Sources of Energy, Electric Vehicles, etc. he announced that currently about 175 Start Ups are at various stages of incubation under Oil & Gas PSUs with allocated fund of Rs 200 Cr to Selected Start-Ups, which is 62.5 % of pledged fund committed during Start Up Sangam. Incubation and mentoring support to Start-ups is provided thru’ Tie-ups with educational / professional institutions like IITs / IIMs / NITs / established startup hubs. Oil & Gas PSUs have further committed ~ Rs 300 Cr for next three years period.

Pradhan said that oil and gas companies in India including oil PSUs are investing in developing renewable energy projects by focusing more on green energy investments such as renewables, biofuels and hydrogen going forward.

Pradhan said that as mentioned by Hon’ble Prime Minister, India is progressively becoming a favoured destination for investment in Oil and Gas sector including renewables. Ensuring  “Ease of doing business” is our utmost priority. Our continuous focus is on maintaining sanctity of contracts and safeguarding investments. We have established dedicated Project Development Cells (PDC) and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) cells in all Ministries for handholding and facilitating domestic and foreign investors.  Adequate measures and safeguards have also been undertaken to address the concerns of businesses and investors arising out of the Covid pandemic.

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