Status of energy sector in India highly uneven; scope for reform: PM

Status of energy sector in India highly uneven scope for reform PMNEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today that the status of the energy sector in India was highly uneven and the scope for reform in many areas still exists.

At an interaction here with oil and gas CEOs and experts from across the world, he welcomed the suggestion made for a comprehensive energy policy, according to a PMO press release.

Modi also welcomed all possibilities for innovation and research in the oil and gas sector, the release said, adding that he flagged the potential of biomass energy and invited participation and joint ventures in the coal gasification.

Top CEOs and officials from Rosneft, BP, Reliance, Saudi Aramco, Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, Vedanta, Wood MacKenzie, IHS Markit, Schlumberger, Halliburton, Xcoal, ONGC, IndianOil, GAIL, Petronet LNG, Oil India, HPCL, Delonex Energy, NIPFP, International Gas Union, the World Bank, and International Energy Agency, were present at the meeting.

Subjects such as the need for a unified energy policy, contract frameworks and arrangements, requirement of seismic data sets, encouragement for biofuels, improving gas supply, setting up of a gas hub, and regulatory issues came up for discussion, the statement said.

Various participants appreciated the progress and reforms made in India in the last three years, it said.

Participants also appreciated the pace and drive with which the prime minister has brought about reform in the energy sector, it said.

Many participants strongly recommended the inclusion of gas and electricity in the GST framework, the release said.

At the meeting, which was coordinated by the NITI Aayog, Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia highlighted the recent decisions of the GST Council regarding the oil and gas sector.

Thanking the participants for sharing their views, the prime minister said that many suggestions received in the last meeting in 2016 have helped in policy making.

The Prime Minister said that the status of the energy sector in India was highly uneven.

“He also said that scope for reform in many areas still exists,” the release said.

The prime minister thanked all participants for sharing holistic suggestions, keeping in mind India’s unique potential and requirements in the oil and gas sector, instead of merely confining themselves to the concerns of their respective organizations.

Modi observed that the suggestions made today covered policy, administrative as well as regulatory issues.

He stressed on the need to develop energy infrastructure and access to energy in eastern India.

The prime minister indicated that as India moves towards a cleaner and more fuel-efficient economy, he wants its benefits to expand horizontally to all sections of the society, and in particular to the poorest, the release said.

Modi thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin and Rosneft for their commitments and support to the energy sector in India.

He also appreciated the 2030 vision document of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Warmly recalling his visit to Saudi Arabia, Modi said many progressive decisions were being taken there in the energy sector.

He looked forward to various opportunities for cooperation between India and Saudi Arabia in the near future.

In their brief opening remarks, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan and Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog Rajiv Kumar gave an overview of the work done in the energy sector.

They also emphasized on the expected growth in energy demand in India, and the significant progress made in electrification and LPG expansion.

In a short presentation, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant outlined the recent developments and challenges in the oil and gas sector in India.-PTI

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