NAT 211115 INDIAN MINISTER AD VSAKLANI-9-1637004714744
Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs, India Hardeep Singh Puri visiting Engineers India Limited, Abu Dhabi office on the sidelines of ADIPEC. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: India will stick to the blueprint in moving its economy away from being too dependent on oil, but that doesn’t mean it will ditch the resource any time soon, according to the country’s oil minister.

“Countries like India defy categorisation - we are both a consuming country and a producing country. We are stepping up exploration - but even as we transit from traditional fuels to green fuels, we will have to be reliant on traditional fuels for years to come,” Hardeep Singh Puri said on Monday.

Reporting: Nivetha Dayanand Video: Virendra Saklani Editing: Sonia Shah

Following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement at the COP26 summit about India becoming carbon neutral by 2070, Puri said, “This is not a choice anymore, this is an imperative we have to meet.”

During the media interaction on the sidelines of ADIPEC, Puri said, “We have clear mission mode objectives on green hydrogen, we are [making progress] on biofuel, we are moving from 1 per cent in 2014 to 20 per cent biofuel mixing by 2025 which was earlier the target for 2030.”

Oil-price disruption

Puri has been engaging with his Gulf counterparts to sort out the nationwide crisis of rising fuel prices. He said: “I’ve had meetings bilaterally with the ministers of Saudi Arabia, UAE and Kuwait. It’s a conscious decision by them individually and collectively as part of OPEC plus, not to release [oil] for reasons.

“But the only point I make here is, we are making bold commitments on our own. The transition must be jointly managed. It is in the interest of both consumers to have an orderly transition, which is predictable and stable.”

On stabilising petrol prices in the country, the minister hinted at “a fair amount of disruption before the end of next year”.

International oil prices touched a multi-year high of $85 per barrel and this has sent India’s retail petrol, diesel and LPG prices soaring.

India, which imports 85 per cent of its oil needs and is the world’s third-largest energy-consuming and importing country, has been impressing oil producers to raise output to help stabilise rates at affordable levels.

UAE-India energy partnership
The UAE is the third-largest crude oil and second-largest source of LPG and LNG for India. India imported hydrocarbons worth $14.5b in 2020-21, accounting for 33.3 per cent of our overall bilateral trade-in during 2021.

Talking about market disruption due to volatility, the minister said, “Starting soon, other people are talking about reactivising. We ourselves are stepping on an EMP sector in the gas pipeline alone.

“We are expecting $60 billion of investment. We are increasing the area under exploration from 0.25 million square kilometres to 1 million square kilometres.”

ADNOC-India in a bilateral trade

ADNOC has signed a bilateral agreement to participate in India’s strategic reserve programme. According to the IEA, a member country must maintain crude oil and/or product reserves equivalent to 90 days of the previous year’s net imports, to which the government has immediate access (even if it does not own them directly) and could be used to address disruptions to global oil supply.