At the India Energy Forum organised by CERAWeek, the Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Hardeep Singh Puri said that all stakeholders, including private players and the public sector, should partner enthusiastically to make India the global hub of green hydrogen. Puri asserted that the government in carrying out several reforms in mission mode to create an environment sustainable for green hydrogen. He noted that earlier during his interaction with US envoy for climate change he had mentioned that the ministry is working towards attaining a sustainable energy future for the country.
The minister said that for a sustainable future there is the need to both blend hydrogen with compressed natural gas (CNG) for transportation and for industrial use as well. He stated that moving the emphasis from the oil and gas PSUs to green hydrogen is massive, however, the economic viability should also be looked upon to make hydrogen cheaper and accessible for the common mass.
“The government earlier introduced 5 percent biofuel mix in 15 states and union territories. Today 10 percent biofuel mixing is taking place and in the near future we will achieve 20 percent mixing with sugarcane and food grains. We are hereby also boosting the rural economy by promoting sustainable use of fuel for transport,” said Puri.
On the exploration and production of oil and gas, Puri said that the emphasis has now shifted from revenue gain to production enhancement. He asserted that the ministry is dedicated to do whatever it takes to support the E&P sector. “E&P activity is going on in less than 8 percent of our total area. We need to ramp up that production. Government has notified several investor friendly reforms to boost production and we are looking forward for partnership with international players too,” he added.
The Minister of State for petrol and natural gas, Rameshwar Teli said that energy is at the core of the emerging India’s fast-paced economy. He said that India is well on track to become the fastest growing economy. “Although, to achieve its objective of emerging as a global economic leader, India shall seek help of domestically produced energy and require energy imports from our allies amongst global energy majors,” he said.
He said that over the next two decades, India expects a significant growth in energy demand. Teli added that it is imperative that the leading nations join hands and provide solutions to fight challenges posed by the global threat of global warming. Highlighting the initiatives taken by India to pursue clean energy, he said that we have taken several steps to facilitate the biofuels and hydrogen policy framework. Teli noted that India has also introduced some path-breaking reforms in the areas of exploration and production, marketing and pricing of natural gas and so on.
Speaking on whether high prices accelerate the transition away from oil, Petroleum Secretary Tarun Kapoor questioned how reliable the imports of oil and natural gas are in the face of the recent hike in prices. He suggested looking at long term contracts that can provide some level of protection from the volatility of the market. Kapoor flagged that the rising prices are taking away reliability on these resources. Alternatively, he asked whether Indian companies could make investments in some oil fields.
“In the pandemic, the price of oil fell around 75 percent, which is not good for the oil producing nations. However, now the prices have shot up too high. Can any consumer absorb that? It is simply impossible,” he said.
Responding to whether high oil prices will impact government policy on transition, Kapoor said that it definitely has the potential to force change. “We had drawn up a plan to move towards biofuel and get more natural gas to shift from coal. Although we have huge reserves of coal, we are still looking to move to cleaner sources of energy. As capacity for renewable energy went up, we were planning to gradually make the transition,” he said.
Global Head of commodities research in global investment research at Goldman Sachs International – Jeffrey R. Currie – said that anything happening in oil and gas is not exclusive to any geographic area or sector. “Every commodity is facing the same situation,” he said, flagging that price may average around $90 by the end of the year. He noted that it is expected to add more volatility. Currie explained that high prices alone will not be able to accelerate transition. It is essential to avail the commodities to enable the transition away from oil towards more sustainable options.
Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Secretary General HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo said that there is no better time for the global community to converge. Flagging the unrealistic targets of many countries, he said that oil and gas will continue to dominate the global energy basket till 2045 and well past that. Barkindo said that there is a need to address the issues from the perspective of facts and data. “Climate change can only be comprehensively addressed when we look at it from the perspective of energy poverty,” he said.