New Delhi: Noting that 25 percent of the global energy demand is going to come from India in the next two decades, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Hardeep Singh Puri said that India’s appetite for energy has not diluted its commitment to green energy. He was speaking at a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos themed ‘Can India seize this moment?’ “60 million people go to the petrol pump or the retail outlet every morning to fill up. These are two-wheelers, three-wheelers, four-wheelers. We consume 5 million barrels of crude which our refiners use to produce petrol, diesel. During the last few years when the global uncertainties, and I am choosing my words very carefully, have required some navigation, the government of Prime Minister Modi has addressed all three challenges of availability, affordability and security… In the next 20 years, 25 percent of the global energy demand is going to come from India, more than all the developed countries. But we have not allowed this appetite for more energy to dilute our commitment towards green energy at all,” said Puri.
“Whether it’s biofuels or green hydrogen, the India story stands out,” he added.
Supply cuts by OPEC, costly shipments from some traditional Middle East suppliers and geopolitical tension is driving India, the world’s third-biggest oil importer, to diversify its crude sources and accelerate its energy transition, Puri said. “Whenever there is vulnerability and uncertainty in the market, the transition gets accelerated. No-one is looking at that,” Puri told Reuters in an interview at the World Economic Forum, referring to attacks by the Houthis on ships in the Red Sea.
Puri said that while OPEC nations have a right to decide on their energy production, supply cuts against such uncertainty, and the resulting adverse impact on global prices, will dent long-term demand.
It is "imperative" for India to accelerate its transition to green energy in this scenario, he added. Iraq followed Saudi Arabia in charging a premium for oil supplies to Asian markets which made their crude "more expensive than crude sourced elsewhere", the minister said, adding that India is now buying from 37 countries up from 29 earlier.
"I didn't tell them to reduce it but they did it because they also wanted to. If you look at the Indian figures in the last 2-4 years, some of the major suppliers suddenly became number three and somebody who had only 0.2 percent (import share) went up," Puri added.
Iraq pipped Saudi Arabia as the top oil supplier to India a few years ago and now cheaper supply from Russia in the aftermath of Western sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine has pushed it to the top spot followed by Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
While concerned over the disruptions in the Red Sea, Puri said he was “cautiously optimistic” that they will be resolved. Puri said he had just signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Guyana to cooperate across the entire energy value chain of the South American country. He is also talking to companies in Davos who are interested in making investments in India and with whom he would like Indian oil companies to partner with to explore acquisitions and assets in regions such as Latin America.
The minister met the Global CEO of Honeywell, Vimal Kapur, on the sidelines of WEF and discussed opportunities in the green hydrogen value chain in India. “Very happy to meet my friend, Vimal Kapur, Global CEO of Honeywell. During our meeting in #Davos I proposed fostering stronger collaborations between Indian companies & @honeywell to work for the global Sustainable Aviation Fuel opportunity. We also discussed opportunities along the green hydrogen value chain including further R&D, technology transfer, manufacturing & development of electrolysers in India,” Puri said in a series of posts on X.
“Day 2 at #WEF2024: Engaged with AkerTechUSA and Bahrain Economic Development Board for strategic collaborations in LNG, hydrocarbons, and biofuels. @Shell CEO, Mr. Waen Shawan, highlights positive partnership outlook. India's impactful policies and energy resilience resonate globally, propelling us towards self-sufficiency and economic ascent,” another post on X by the minister said.
Puri also met the President and Group CEO of Petronas, Tengku Muhammad Taufik, and discussed possible areas of collaboration in sectors like Biofuels, green hydrogen, investment in the oil and gas exploration and production (E&P) sector, etc. “Was a pleasure to reconnect with Mr Tengku Muhammad Taufik - President & Group CEO, @Petronas in #Davos today. We last met at Adipec few months back. I expressed happiness at the fact that Petronas is interested in setting up Green Hydrogen plants in India. Also informed him how Indian companies are keen to collaborate with Petronas in area of Advanced Fuels such as #Biofuels #GreenHydrogen etc. & for investment in the E&P & other renewable energy activities in India, Malaysia as well as in other countries,” said Puri on X after the meeting.
“Held an engaging interaction with Mr Alfred Stern, Chairman of the Executive Board & CEO of OMV AG, an Austrian Energy major in #Davos today. Discussed the opportunities that India has to offer in areas of sustainable biofuels, petrochemicals & Carbon Capture Utilization & Storage. Informed him how India is overhauling policy framework of Exploration & Production sector by working on 4 pillars: data acquisition & policy; acreage award, regulatory relations & contract facilitation, & investor outreach,” said Puri in a series of posts on X.
Puri met the President & CEO of Equinor and discussed potential for collaboration in the Indian E&P sector, offshore wind and gas sector. “Discussed potential collaboration opportunities in Indian E&P sector, offshore wind sector & India’s Gas opportunity in my meeting with Mr Anders Opedal - President & CEO, @Equinor in #Davos today. India, being the 4th largest renewable capacity holder globally, has set a target to achieve 500 GW renewable energy capacity by 2030 & looks forward to potential collaboration between Indian companies & Equinor in pursuit of our shared objective of achieving #NetZero,” said Puri on X.