NEW DELHI: India’s largest oil refiner and fuel retailer IndianOil on Thursday unveiled a Rs 2 lakh crore roadmap to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emission from its operations by 2046. Given the size of the company’s operations, the move will boost prime minister Narendra Modi’s vision of a net-zero India by 2070 announced at the COP26 climate meet at Glasgow, UK. “On the 99th year of India’s independence (when the country begins centenary celebrations), IndianOil will be operationally independent of emissions… The company is embarking on a decarbonisation journey that will be crucial not only for its destiny but also for the planet,” chairman Shrikant Madhav Vaidya said announcing the plan.
The size of the roadmap means investing more than Rs 8,000 crore in technology, research & development on alternative energy, carbon capture and use projects as well as purchasing carbon credits to offset unavoidable emissions due to technological limitations at this point in time. Vaidya said money is not a problem and the net zero investments will be treated as part of capital expenditure, currently estimated at Rs 25,000 crore per year. “Net zero will result in savings for the company. If my energy consumption comes down from, say, about 8.5% at present, my refining margin goes up.” In July 2021, TOI had first reported Vaidya’s vision of using renewable energy to power all new capacities created through refinery expansion projects and plan for a green hydrogen unit as part of decarbonising plans. Broadly, the measures will include making processes more energy efficient, producing and using new-age fuels such as green hydrogen, use more power from the grid and renewable sources and replacing liquid fuels with alternatives such as natural gas in plants.
IndianOil is the latest Indian energy company dealing with fossil fuels to announce a net zero target. In April 2020, Reliance Industries Ltd, which operates the world’s largest single-location oil refining complex and an array of petrochemical units, announced a net zero target of 2035. Earlier this year, State-run Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum – which are much smaller in size than IndianOil — announced net zero ambitions by 2040. Globally, BP and Shell in 2020 had announced pathways to achieve net zero by 2050, while ExxonMobil announced the same this January.