Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan Wednesday said the increasing dependency on imported fuel should not be seen as a challenge to the energy security programme that the country is building on.
Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan Wednesday said the increasing dependency on imported fuel should not be seen as a challenge to the energy security programme that the country is building on. Pradhan said government has taken many initiatives to increase the capacities of alternative sources of energy like solar, wind, biogas, among others. The country imports more than 82 percent of its daily oil demand, making crude imports the biggest drain on the nation’s foreign exchange, as domestic production has either been stagnant or even declining for long but demand has been on a steady rise, clipping at 4-6 percent per annum.
“The rise in oil imports and the dependency on the imported fuel are not going to be hurdles in our energy security programme. Even large economies like Japan and Korea are also net importers of oil. On the contrary, because of our energy diplomacy, we have been able to, for the first time, get a say in oil production in the GCC,” he said.
Addressing an economic summit organised by the Times group, Pradhan said government has taken initiatives to create a gas-based economy considering the easy and cheaper availability of natural gas. “To increase domestic gas production, we have undertaken many reforms and made a lot of amendments in ease of doing business in the oil sector. Besides, we have also increased our ethanol production and now we are experimenting with converting coal into synthetic gas,” he said.
Reiterating his call to oil producers to take into consideration the interest of their large consumers like India, Pradhan said that “we have been stressing that our consuming capacity should be recognised by the oil cartel Opec. They cannot continue to determine both the quantity and price and that there has to be space for consumers as well.” He also claimed that because of the efforts taken by New Delhi, other large Asian oil importers like China, Japan and Korea will also be beneficiaries. “Why should Europe get oil at a lower rate while we we pay higher prices to the same quality crude?. This is what we have been telling the Opec and finally they are now revisiting their strategies,” he added.