India has set its eyes on increasing the share of natural gas in its energy base to 15% by 2030 and in order to realise this target an investment of around $60 billion will be done towards developing the required infrastructure to facilitate gas supply and distribution.
At present natural gas comprises 6.2% of the country’s energy consumption.
Speaking at the third International Think Tank Meeting (ITT), oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan, said that global challenges and uncertainties could have “enormous impact on India’s energy security” and also the “economic, budgetary and investment dimensions.”
“Natural gas, gradually but surely, becoming a bridging fuel for low carbon economy in India,” Pradhan said, adding that the government is giving special impetus to develop gas infrastructure across the country.
He underlined the importance of the private sector–both domestic and global—in bringing investments with necessary innovations for future energy landscape of the country.
Global oil markets have remained volatile with US sanctions on Iran and Venezuela besides the recent attacks on Saudi oil processing units and unrest in the Middle East. Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Iran are the top suppliers of crude oil to India. Besides these three, UAE and Venezuela have also supplied a large chunk of crude to India. The US-China trade war has also added to the problem.
India’s domestic oil production has also slowed down in the last five years. From 37.5 million metric tonnes (MMT) that India produced in 2014-15, production fell to 35.7 (MMT) in 2017-18.
India imports over 84% of its total need for crude oil and 45% of natural gas.
“Going forward, it is expected to increase further. Such excessive import dependency does make us vulnerable to external developments more than ever before,” Pradhan said.
He added that the hydrocarbon sector was under enormous scrutiny for ‘sustainable’ aspects. “The associated challenges of COP (Conference of the Parties) 21 commitments, improving air quality etc., are to be borne in mind,” Pradhan said.
New Delhi also aims to provide piped gas to over 1 crore households as part of its overall efforts to increase the share of natural gas in the total energy base.
“The City Gas Distribution network development in India is going to cover half of India’s geography and would serve 70% of India’s population through availability of low carbon and cheap natural gas,” the minister pointed out.