While energy demand globally fell by almost a third at the height of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, India is fast returning to pre-COVID levels.
The US on Wednesday pitched for deeper energy ties with India and said it wants to reduce trade and investment barriers between the two nations to create business opportunities on both sides. Speaking at the India Energy Forum of CERAWeek, US Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette thanked India’s Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan for playing a role in stabilising the energy markets that witnessed unprecedented volatility post-breakout of the coronavirus pandemic.
With Indian economy growing at “an enormous pace”, the current USD 10 billion of energy trade between the two nations is just the “start of what will be a very long and prosperous relationship between the two countries,” he said.
The US, he said, wants to share with India technologies that it has developed in areas such as upstream oil and gas exploration, battery storage and solar photovoltaic cells.
He said the emergence of the US as the world’s third-biggest supplier of liquefied natural gas (LNG) means “security and stability” for economies around the world. “US is a very reliable partner. We honour the contracts we sign. We have a doctrine that we won’t use energy as a weapon to achieve geopolitical goals. The world looks at the United States for that kind of supplies of both crude oil and LNG,” Brouillette said.
Energy is one of the building blocks of the Indo-US relationship, he said. “We see India as an enormous opportunity for the United States (and want to) strengthen and deepen the relationship… we see that relationship deepening.”
On the US-India Strategic Energy Partnership, he said the two sides are working together to identify economic opportunities for US and Indian businesses. “We are also looking at things like investment barriers in both countries. We are looking at our US laws that may prohibit or somehow slow down investments,” he said. “We are also looking at Indian laws to see if there might be hurdles or some sought of entry barriers.”
“We are trying to reconcile so that trade is much easier,” Brouillette emphasised. The US was the fifth-largest supplier of LNG to India in 2019, according to the Department of Energy. State-owned gas utility GAIL India Ltd was a foundation customer at Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass export terminal in Louisiana, and multiple developers of new liquefaction terminals proposed for the Gulf Coast, including Tellurian, have been pursuing supply deals with Indian counterparties.
While energy demand globally fell by almost a third at the height of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, causing price instability and delays in investment decisions, India is fast returning to pre-COVID levels.
Earlier this year, the US and India came together to help stabilise the energy markets. The markets, he said, look much more stable than they were earlier this year. “I want to say thank you publicly to Minister Pradhan and look forward to increased cooperation as we enter this important strategic relationship between the United States and India,” he said.