New Delhi: Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan described the Summit-level meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump as a momentous occasion for India-US bilateral relations, especially with respect to the energy sector. Speaking at an event on Tuesday, he said that both the leaders have once again emphasised on the importance of further strengthening the energy pillar of the bilateral strategic partnership.
The event "India-US Business Story: Opportunity, Innovation, Entrepreneurship" was jointly organized by CII, USIBC, Ananta Centre and Indiaspora with a focus on energy cooperation between India and US.
Pradhan said that the high importance attached to the energy component of the bilateral engagement is rather evident from positive developments during the last three years under the India-US strategic energy partnership. Commenting on the engagement between India and US in the energy sector, he said, "US emerging as the 6th largest source for crude oil imports, is a significant development. India is also now the 4th largest export destination for US crude. Our LNG imports from US are also increasing progressively ever since the imports started in March 2018. India is now the 5th largest destination of US exports of LNG."
The minister said that India's bilateral hydrocarbon trade has increased exponentially during the last three years, and it touched US $7.7-billion mark last year, accounting for 11 percent of total two-way trade. These developments are reflective of a new and emerging dynamic between the two countries. "Both Secretary Dan Brouillette and I have agreed that there is a need now to develop industry-level engagements for technology infusions as well as investment partnerships in the energy sector. Yesterday, Secretary Brouillette and I reviewed the ongoing strategic energy partnership. We are planning the next ministerial meeting of the Strategic Energy Partnership in April this year for deepening engagements at government and industry channels," he added.
Pradhan said that our vision of becoming a gas-based economy is yet another area of close collaboration between India and US. In this connection, the India-US Gas Task Force constituted in 2018 under the Strategic Energy Partnership is doing pioneering work. The Task Force is providing innovative policy recommendations to expedite development of gas-based economy in India.
On the issue of IOCL and ExxonMobil signing a Letter of Cooperation (LoC) for increasing access of LNG in the gas market, Pradhan said that this is an initiative incubated under the India-US Gas Task Force. He said that Prime Minister Modi has envisioned India to become a US$ 5 trillion economy by 2024 and energy sector will be a key catalyst to achieve this target.
Pradhan said that India-US collaboration in the development of clean energy is progressing well. It needs to be aligned to support India's ambitious renewable and clean energy targets by supporting research and deployment of clean energy technologies. There is also an opportunity for a massive infusion of capital in such innovative ventures. He said, "With India emerging as one of the fastest-growing energy markets, we look forward to the greater infusion of US technology, innovation and capital in India's upstream, midstream and downstream sectors."