‘Our dependence on oil & gas imports to dip 10% by 2022’
In a consorted effort by the government focused on boosting the sector of gas exploration and
production, the Oil and Petroleum Ministry on Tuesday said that India’s import dependence in the oil
and gas sector will be reduced by 10 per cent by 2022.
Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan expressed
confidence that the target of 10 per cent reduction in import dependence in Oil and Gas will be achieved
by 2022. Speaking at the 2nd ‘Indian Oil Gas Conclave’ with the theme “Natural Gas : Vision 2025 –
Challenges and Opportunities”, the minister also said the government is working with public sector oil
companies to bring in start-up fund for oil and gas industry which would further boost the innovative
ideas in the sector.
Declaring that use of natural gas would contribute towards half of realising the target set by Prime
Minister Narendra Modi of reducing oil imports by 10 per cent by 2022, Pradhan said replacing oil by gas
in this manner would contribute much towards India meeting its carbon emission commitments under
COP 21. Speaking at the function in New Delhi on Tuesday, the minister said that natural gas will play a
major role in achieving this target. Pradhan stressed that the government has already taken a number of
policy initiatives in the sector which would unlock a large quantity of hydrocarbons.
“Gas is the future of the Indian economy,” he said, noting that in a state like Gujarat, which has been
focusing on renewable energy, gas accounts for a quarter of the state’s energy basket. “Small industry in
Gujarat is supplied with domestic gas. We want to enhance our alternative energy basket, and it won’t
take much time for the gas market and prices to stabilise,” he added. In this connection, Pradhan
informed the audience that the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board will on Wednesday open
the bids received for building a new gas pipeline on the east coast running from Contai in West Bengal
via Dattapulia to Paradip on Odisha’s coast.
Pradhan said that the country is committed to reduce the carbon footprint by 30-35 per cent by the year
2030. In this regard, the Government is promoting the use of clean fuel like natural gas. He said the
sector has to be developed through participation by all these stakeholders. He called upon The
Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) to play a lead role in the expansion of gas
network in the country. The Minister said the Government is committed to the balanced growth and for
this purpose new pipelines are being laid in the Eastern India which will boost the availability of gas in
the under-developed parts of the country.
The Minister said that India is a growth story, its energy consumption is increasing and without energy
security, there can be no development. He said gas is the future fuel and India is taking steps to boost
exploration and production. State-run oil and gas companies are planning to create a venture capital
fund to encourage start-ups to develop new business models and infuse innovation into India’s
hydrocarbons sector, Pradhan said during the inaugural address at the Conclave on Tuesday. “PSUs
(public sector undertakings), in consultations with the petroleum ministry, are planning the creation of a
start-up fund for the oil and gas industry,” he said. Making the case for start-ups in the hydrocarbons
sector, he cited the example of the telecom sector and of industrialists like Ratan Tata who are investing
in new enterprises. Speaking to the media later, Pradhan said the time had come to change the
marketing strategy from liquid fuels to gas and encourage new business models in the sector to promote
innovation and create infrastructure. “PSUs are working on setting up a venture capital fund to
encourage start-ups to develop new business models, marketing plan, technology and innovation into
hydrocarbons. They should invest and join as partners for start-ups,” he said.
“Indian intellectual capacity is contributing immensely to the global oil and gas economy. We would like
the Indian energy market too to benefit from that capacity. Any start-up needing hand-holding can seek
support from the fund. Public sector companies will independently evaluate the commercial viability of
the project and take a decision on their equity participation,” he added. Pradhan said his ministry has
advised public sector oil and gas companies to create a corpus that would be utilised to invest in new
businesses with an innovative business model and bring efficiency.