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India to see $66 billion investment in gas infrastructure

India will see a massive $66 billion investment in the building of gas infrastructure as the government pushes for greater use of the cleaner fuel with a view to cutting down carbon emissions, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Wednesday.

The government is targeting raising the share of natural gas in its energy basket to 15% by 2030 from the current 6.3%.

This will entail gas consumption rising manifolds from current 160-170 million standard cubic meters per day.

To cater to this, liquefied natural gas (LNG) import capacity is being raised, new pipelines laid to transport the fuel, and city gas infrastructure expanded to take the fuel to users, he said at KPMG India’s annual energy conclave ENRich 2020 here.

“An estimated investment of $66 billion is lined up in developing gas infrastructure, which includes pipelines, city gas distribution, and LNG regasification terminals,” he said adding 14,700-km gas pipelines are being added to the existing network of 16,800-km to form a national gas grid.

He, however, did not give breakup or timelines of the investment.

Elaborating on India’s energy strategy going forward, he said apart from achieving the renewable energy target of 450 gigawatts (GW) by 2030, India will focus on developing in an integrated manner a gas-based economy, cleaner use of fossil fuels, greater reliance on domestic fuels to drive biofuels and moving into emerging fuels, like hydrogen.

LNG import terminals and capacity additions are planned on both east and west coast. Also, the city gas network of retailing CNG to automobiles and piped natural gas to households and kitchens has been extended to 407 districts.

Besides CNG, the government is also promoting the use of LNG as fuel on long-haul trucks and buses.

“Recently, we have laid the foundation stone for the first 50 LNG fueling stations across the golden quadrilateral and major National Highways. Our goal is to set up 1000 LNG stations within 3 years which is likely to add about 20-25 mmscmd of new gas demand by 2035,” he said.

Besides, the National Biofuel Policy (NBP) is targeting blending of 20 per cent ethanol in petrol and 5% of bio-diesel by 2030.

“Biofuel is not just science but also a Mantra that will provide new energy to not only India but also the entire world. It has the power to create a balance between our environment and economic development,” he said.

India joined the elite group of nations in August 2018 by successfully operating a flight running on biofuel. “We are keen to expand the use of biofuels in the aviation sector to meet the new ICAO standards,” he said.

Pradhan said the government is also pushing for generating gas from municipal and agri waste and 5000 compressed biogas plants are planned.

“There is also an increased push to adopt hydrogen fuel mix. Last month, we launched the Hydrogen enriched- Compressed Natural Gas (HCNG) plant and dispensing station in Delhi and also rolled out the first set of buses with HCNG,” he said.

Pradhan said historically, global economic growth and the need for energy resources have been synchronous.

However, with increasing awareness of environmental threats, such as global warming and climate change there is a paradigm shift in the way this relationship is envisioned.

The global GDP is projected to double by 2040 but the associated global energy demand is estimated to increase only by 30%, he said adding the situation of developed and developing countries however are not similar.

“As economic development catches up, energy needs of countries, like India will be higher and must be adequately met while being responsive to environmental and climate concerns,” he said.

India uses only 6% of the world’s primary energy and the per capita consumption of energy is still one-third of the global average. “This, however, is rapidly changing. India’s developmental state triggers the rapid expansion of energy consumption and a need for robust energy security.”

According to different global agencies, the world total primary energy demand would increase at less than 1% per annum till 2040 and this growth would be mainly supported by India and other Asian countries.

India is the third-largest energy consumer after the US and China. Its energy demand increased to 882 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) in 2017.

According to BP Energy outlook 2020, India’s energy demand would grow at about 3% per annum till 2040. “Our estimated per capita energy consumption would be half of the world average by 2040.”

India has committed to reducing the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33-35% from 2005 levels.

“Our energy agenda is inclusive, market-based and climate-sensitive. We have adopted multiple pathways for the energy transition,” he said.

India is targeting 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022 and 450 GW by 2030.

The solar installed capacity in India has increased by more than 13 times from 2.63 GW in March 2014 to 34.81 GW in April 2020.

Pradhan said India is an attractive investment destination for the energy sector as several policy reforms have enhanced ease of doing business. “A testament to the same is the projected investment of $143 billion in the Indian oil and gas sector.”

“We are keen to partner with global companies and investors for further strengthening of energy infrastructure in the country,” he said.

Saudi Aramco and UAE’s ADNOC are partnering in the marquee 60 million tonnes a year integrated refinery petrochemical project in Maharashtra.

“India also recognizes the importance of global collaboration on the energy sector,” he said. “India and Russia are targeting tripling bilateral trade to USD 30 billion in the next four years in areas such as LNG, shipping and so forth.”

Similarly, under the ambitious Strategic Energy Partnership, India and the US energy trade is growing exponentially over the past few years.
Source: PTI

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