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Clean, affordable, sustainable energy needed for rapid growth of global economy : Hardeep Singh Puri

Advocating for affordable and reliable access to energy, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Hardeep Singh Puri today said clean, affordable, reliable and sustainable energy is needed to bring the global economy back on track after the pandemic.

We need to recognize that the world needs a reliable supply of oil and gas until we build new energy infrastructure, Mr Puri said at the fifth India Energy Forum of CERA week here. The minister said that merely to say that the world is facing unprecedented challenges would be a silent practice. He further added that in the era of energy transition, imbalance in energy markets is its main feature.

Mr Puri said the current level of oil and gas prices is very high. India is 85 per cent dependent on imported oil. At the same time, there is a dependence on imports for 55 percent of the gas. These items account for 20 per cent of the country’s import bill. The import bill of these items has increased almost three times in the last quarter as compared to the same quarter last year. He said that due to extreme volatility and high prices, the domestic prices of hydrocarbon fuels have increased. Higher oil prices have an impact on economies, leading to inflation and impacting logistics costs.

Terming the situation as alarming, Mr Puri said the global economic recovery could be weakened if prices are not brought under control. He further underlined that prices should be predictable, reliable and stable. He said it could also affect producers in the long run. Mr Puri said that OPEC countries should keep in mind the sentiments of the consumer countries.

Shri Puri said that India is accelerating its efforts to become a gas based economy. He said that about $60 billion is being invested in the country for setting up infrastructure like pipelines, terminals, regasification facilities etc. The country is on the path of one nation-one grid, with the pipeline length increasing from 19,000 km to 35,000 km. He said that the field of exploration is also growing and the country has taken several reforms at a rapid pace, leading to more investment in the E&P sector. On bio-fuels, the minister said that the ethanol-blending has already reached 10 per cent and we are determined to take it to 20 per cent soon. Under the SATAT scheme, 5000 CBG plants are being set up with an investment of $20 billion. At the same time, thousands of charging stations are being set up to promote electric vehicles. The Minister said that the Hydrogen Mission has been launched to usher in the transition towards green energy.

Describing India as a unique case, Shri Puri said that with about 16 per cent of the world’s population, India’s per capita energy consumption is only one-third of the world’s. Our energy consumption is set to grow as we move towards a US$5 trillion economy by 2025. He said that energy justice for India is a major objective and priority for our government.

Shri Puri said that India has one-sixth of the global community and our commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to clean energy, urban development and health will ensure their success. In general, for the SDGs to be successful, India must be successful. Only then can socio-economic changes take place. He said that we see the energy sector as one that empowers people and advances ease of living.
The Minister said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had envisaged seven key pillars of India’s energy strategy last year to move forward. Collectively, these will help India move towards clean energy. India is developing gas based economy in an integrated manner, clean use of fossil fuels, achieving renewable energy target of 450 GW by 2030, greater reliance on domestic fuels to fuel biofuels, increasing contribution of electricity, emerging technologies such as hydrogen Focusing on moving to fuel and driving digital innovation across all energy systems. He said that we are moving ahead in the field of transition towards clean and green energy on a large scale. India stands firm in its commitment to climate action.

On International Energy Best Practices, Shri Puri said that the best ideas have to be adopted in building a New India with the times. He said that our contracts are aligned with good international petroleum industry practices, however he questioned whether these are sufficient or are there any differences between them, which need to be addressed with innovative thinking and implementation.

Shri Puri said that the theme of this year’s Forum ‘Creating India’s New Energy Future: Clean, Affordable, Reliable, Sustainable’ has been well chosen, as India’s energy transformation has many dimensions. Moreover, India’s energy sector is undergoing a transformation with a constant focus on results.