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The Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Housing & Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri said that his ministry is focused on increasing exploration in India and reduce import dependency to cater to the growing energy needs of the country. The Minister was speaking at the concluding session of the 5th India Energy Forum by CERA Week organized during 20 – 22 October 2021. Mr Puri said that India has decided to lead the pursuit of energy transition and added that the “profound changes initiated by us during the last seven years to meet our energy needs with sustainable means will amplify it”.

Concluding session of 5th India Energy Forum by CERA Week
Concluding session of 5th India Energy Forum by CERA Week

Noting that the Indian oil and gas industry has made significant strides in recent years, the Minister said that the government has introduced a number of reforms to meet national energy needs, based on the energy vision laid out by the Prime Minister, covering energy access, energy efficiency, energy sustainability, energy security and energy justice. He said that to cater to the increasing energy demand in the country, “we have to explore all options that are sustainable, secure and affordable.”

Cautioning, however, he said that the World Bank in its latest Commodity Market Outlook has stated that the surge in energy prices pose significant near-term risks of global inflation, and if sustained, could also weigh on growth in energy importing countries. “The Government of India, on its own, has also been reiterating this same message for some time now,” Mr Puri said. He held that unless the price of crude are maintained at sustainable levels, this will severely impact the global economic recovery. “The cost of energy should not be allowed to outstrip the paying capacity of consuming nations. This imperative needs to be configured by the consuming countries in planning their production profiles for the future.”

Mr Puri said that only eight out of 26 sedimentary basins in India have been explored. We are looking for international partners to participate in this exploration journey that we are undertaking, he said. The Minister also noted that the country is working to promote low carbon pathways through biofuels and increase ethanol blending to 20 per cent by 2025, taking up waste to energy programs and has set ambitious targets towards compressed biogas, CGB, Hydrogen, etc. He said that all this will be done concomitantly while pursuing our goal to increase gas in the primary energy mix from current 6 per cent to 15 per cent by 2030.

Minister P&NG Hardeep Singh Puri delivering closing remarks
Minister P&NG Hardeep Singh Puri delivering closing remarks

Noting that the dialogue in the Indo-Pacific energy ministerial enabled open exchange of idea and perspectives, Mr Puri said that this region has already become the center of the world energy trade and commerce, driven by the growing energy demand in the region. “In line with the Prime Minister’s vision of SAGAR for security and growth for all in the region, the countries in this region can come together to form strong supply chain as a part of energy interdependency for symbiotic relationships,” he said.

Earlier, IHS Markit Vice Chairman Daniel Yergin said that India’s voice is very important in the global energy sector. He noted that India energy industry is in a long-term period of transformation and said this platform has provided an important platform for the nation to put forward its voice. Highlighting that India is now the fourth largest country in the world in terms of renewable energy capacity, he said that India has a tremendous contribution to make in biofuels. He said that 2030s will be the decade of transition for mobility in India.

In an earlier panel discussion on ‘Waste to Energy: A Scalable solution for India?’ during the convention, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas Secretary Tarun Kapoor said that the government has a major role to play in this initiative. Calling for a joint effort, Mr Kapoor said that all stakeholders including Center, States, local officials and private players need to give importance to waste to energy. Talking about developments in waste to energy in India so far, Mr Kapoor said that plants are yet to be set up as this is a new subject. “While only a small number of plants have been commissioned so far, a large number of plants are at a stage where they are either looking for land or are getting financial closure.”

MoPNG Secretary Tarun Kapoor during discussion on Waste to Energy
MoPNG Secretary Tarun Kapoor during discussion on Waste to Energy

Moderating the event, Advisor on Global Gas for IHS Markit Simon Blakey questioned about the material gathering process for waste to energy. “In a huge country like India with a massive agricultural hinterland, the process of gathering materials seems to be quite a barrier. Is this something the government can take a look at or does it need to be left for the private sector to look at how it will be done?” he asked.

Responding to the query, Mr Kapoor admitted that gathering the material is one of the biggest challenges and discussed various challenges. “If we are depending on agriculture residue, collecting, bailing, packing, etc will have a huge cost. Sometime, the farmers may have alternate uses for them. Another challenge is that some of these raw materials will not be available throughout the year. But, you have to run the plants throughout the year. So, you will have to store it in a manner that the quality remains intact.”

He said that there are plenty of reasons why the government has to play a major role in waste to energy. Suggesting one solution, he said that costs can be subsidized considering the spin offs of the process like creating additional income for farmers, cleaning up the environment, providing employment to intermediaries in rural areas, creating energy locally. “If we are able to do this in a decentralized manner, we will be able to produce fuel in a decentralized manner, it will create a rural economy in that area or belt,” Mr Kapoor said.

During the panel discussion, Vice President, Oil Markets, Midstream & Downstream Insights, IHS Markit Kurt Barrow said that traditional fuels are important and are a core part of the business, but there is also a lot of interest on the environmental side, security of supply, socio-economic benefits of homegrown energy. Responding to a question on ways to monitor carbon intensity of bio-fuel processes, he said that while it is a difficult area, there are ways to monitor the carbon intensity of bio-fuel processes.

Noting that renewable natural gas from agriculture and municipal waste can be negative Carbon Intensive (CI), he said that if you convert waste to energy with agriculture waste and municipal waste, which has natural methane emissions, you get the double benefit of producing a low CI fuel while also mitigating the natural methane emission.

MoPNG Secretary talking about ways to address challenges in waste to energy
MoPNG Secretary talking about ways to address challenges in waste to energy

Later, Mr Kapoor talked about the challenges in the waste to energy journey including marketing of bio manure and bio gas. “These bio gas plants are going to be set up away from cities and in rural areas, where ready market is not available. In some places, pipelines have come up. But, pipelines are yet to come up at many other places. So, in other places, we have to sell it through retail outlets,” he said. He said that the government is working on building an ecosystem that enables waste to energy.



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