As many as 10 firms under the oil ministry including IndianOil and ONGC today unveiled a Rs 320 crore fund to support startups in the oil and gas sector for a period of three years. “The oil sector public sector undertakings have partnered with 36 projects (startups). All companies have created a fund of Rs 320 crore for next three years. More funds can be provided under this initiative,” Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan told reporters after the launch of the scheme. The minister said that this initiative would help promote innovation and new business models in the oil and gas sector. Earlier speaking on the occasion, the minister stressed that the initiative should not be viewed as corporate social responsibility (CSR) or a charity programme.
“This is no charity. This is not CSR. This is business. This is partnership. One of these companies can topple our oil companies,” Pradhan said. The minister added the oil and gas sector would offer investment opportunities worth $300 billion in the next 10 years in view of about 25 per cent of incremental energy demand in the world coming from India.
The 10 state-run firms running the initiative are IndianOil, Hindustan Petroleum, Bharat Petroleum, Oil India, ONGC, Engineers India, Numaligarh Refinery, Gas Authority of India, Balmer Lawrie and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals. In an apparent reference to the government’s planned initiative on waste-to-wealth (energy) projects, the minister said rag picking would be big business in the coming days.
He said the government has provided 3 crore LPG connections to poor households in 15 months and in the next 15 months, 4 crore families would be provide electricity connections under the Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana – ‘Saubhagya’. The minister also expressed hope that the burden of oil imports would reduce in the coming days, saying that if oil imports worth Rs 1 lakh crore are avoided then it would be a big boost for the country.