Hardeep Singh Puri takes a dig at OPEC, says access to energy must be ‘affordable, reliable’

  • We need to accept that the world needs a reliable supply of oil and gas until we can build new energy infrastructure, said Puri
  • Puri said that OPEC+ countries should factor in the sentiments of the consuming countries

New Delhi: Taking a veiled dig at the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri said that India believes that access to energy must be affordable and reliable. In his welcome remarks at the Fifth India Energy Forum by CERAWeek at New Delhi on Wednesday, he said, “We need to accept that the world needs a reliable supply of oil and gas until we can build new energy infrastructure.” Puri added that the global economy needs clean, affordable, reliable, sustainable energy to speed up the post-pandemic recovery. 

To say that the world faces unprecedented challenges would be an understatement. In an era of energy transition, the energy markets are characterised by key imbalances, he added.

Current oil & gas prices too high: Puri

Puri said that the current levels of oil and gas prices are too high. “India is 85 percent dependent on imported oil while the import dependence is about 55 percent for gas. Twenty percent of the country’s import bill is from these items. The import bill of these items has almost gone up by almost three times in the last quarter compared to the last year’s corresponding quarter,” said Puri. 

He said that the extreme volatility and high prices have led to a surge in the domestic prices of hydrocarbon fuels. The high prices of oil has impact on the economies, leading to surge in inflation and affecting the logistics cost. Describing the situation as a wakeup call, Puri said that if prices are not brought under control, global economic recovery could be fragile. He underlined that prices have to be predictable, dependable and stable. This may also impact the producers in the long run, he added. Puri said that OPEC+ countries should factor in the sentiments of the consuming countries.

‘India accelerating efforts towards becoming gas-based economy’

Puri said that India is accelerating its efforts to become a gas-based economy. He said that about $60 billion investment is underway in the country in setting up the infrastructure- pipelines, terminals, regasification facilities, etc. The country is on the path of “One Nation-One Grid,” with the pipeline length set to increase from 19,000 km to 35,000 km. He said that the area under exploration is also increasing, and the country has undertaken plethora of reforms, so that there is more investment in the E&P sector. 

‘Ethanol blending at 10% already’

Regarding bio-fuels, the minister said that ethanol blending has already reached 10 percent, and we are determined to take it to 20 percent soon. Under the SATAT scheme, 5,000 CBG plants are being set up, with an investment of $20 billion. For promoting Electric Vehicles (EVs), thousands of charging stations are being installed. To usher in transition to green energy, Hydrogen Mission is being launched, said the minister.

Describing India as a sui generis case, Puri said that with around 16 percent of the world’s population, the per capita energy consumption in India is only one third of the world. “Our energy consumption is set to rise as we move towards a US$ 5-trillion economy by 2025. Energy justice for India is a key objective and priority for our government,” said Puri.

Puri said that India comprises one-sixth of the global community and the country’s commitment to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to clean energy, urban development and health will ensure their success. Generally, for the SDGs to succeed, India must succeed, he remaked. That is when socio-economic transformations can take place. We view the energy sector as one that empowers people and furthers “Ease of Living,” he said.

‘India unwavering in its commitment to climate action’

While recalling that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had last year envisioned seven key pillars of India’s energy strategy going forward, Puri said that collectively, these would help India move towards cleaner energy. “India is focusing on developing in an integrated manner a gas-based economy, cleaner use of fossil fuels, achieving the renewable energy target of 450 GW by 2030, greater reliance on domestic fuels to drive biofuels, increasing the contribution of electricity, moving into emerging fuels like Hydrogen, and promoting digital innovation across all energy systems,” said the minister. India is unwavering in its commitment to climate action, he added.

Puri said that in the making of a New India, time-tested and the best ideas have to be put to work. He said that our contracts are aligned with Good International Petroleum Industry Practices, but he questioned whether these are sufficient or is there a gap that needs to be addressed with refreshed thinking and implementation.

Puri said that the year’s theme at the Forum ‘Building India’s New Energy Future: Clean, Affordable, Reliable, Sustainable’ is well chosen because India’s energy transition has multiple dimensions, and its energy sector is undergoing a transformation with relentless focus on outcomes.

(PSU Watch– India's Business News centre that places the spotlight on PSUs, Bureaucracy, Defence and Public Policy is now on Google News. Click here to follow. Also, join PSU Watch Channel in your Telegram. You may also follow us on Twitter here and stay updated.)