Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Steel, Dharmendra Pradhan has said that with the gradual revival in the economic activity in India, energy consumption is likely to reach pre-COVID-19 levels soon.
The minister was speaking at the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF)-3rd Annual Leadership Summit on the theme of ‘Navigating New Challenges’ on the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy and the consequent energy demand contraction.
Speaking about the Aatmanirbhar Bharat campaign, Pradhan said the campaign launched under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought the creation of a self-reliant India, seeking to convert COVID-19 challenges into opportunity, to merge domestic production and consumption with global supply chains and aimed to transform the country into a global manufacturing hub in the 21st century.
The minister underlined the importance of energy infrastructure as a key to transformation in India and invited US industry leaders to take advantage of the opportunities being created in India’s energy sector.
Pradhan talked about the growing bilateral hydrocarbon trade between India and the US, which exceeded US$ 9 billion during FY 2019-20 and is expected to increase further as companies were looking to source more crude oil and liquified natural gas (LNG) from the US at competitive rates.
The minister mentioned about the importance of the gas sector in the Strategic Energy Partnership as India worked to transform itself into a gas-based economy by increasing the share of gas from 6 per cent to 15 per cent in its energy mix by 2030, with an estimated investment of $60 billion lined up in the sector, developing a ’One Nation, One Gas Grid’. He also expressed happiness at global oil & gas majors like BP, Shell, Total, Exxon Mobil expanding their footprint in India and invited the US companies to take advantage of reforms in the exploration & production (E&P) sector and participate in the next oil & gas block bidding round.
Pradhan also added that India and the US had been working in close collaboration, including in stabilising the global energy markets and it was reassuring that despite the COVID-19 induced challenges, the industry leaders were quite optimistic about reinvigorating the energy linkages between the two countries.
Dr. Mukesh Aghi, CEO, USISPF said that the organisation will facilitate greater collaborations between the US and Indian companies for the success of Aatmanirbhar Bharat.