First Ministerial Session : Hydrocarbons to fuel the future: Choices & Challenges

Mr. Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister (Independent Charge) for Petroleum & Natural Gas addressing during the Ministerial session at PETROTECH-2016.

The first Ministerial session at Petrotech-2016 was presided over by Hon’ble Minister of State (Independent Charge),Petroleum & Natural Gas, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan and moderated by Dr. Daniel Yergin , Vice Chairman, IHS Markit.

Welcoming the participating Ministers, Shri Pradhan high-lighted the unique strengths and opportunities of the hydrocarbons sector in India.

Gathering on the occasion.

The Ministerial session which saw participation from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brazil, Mauritius, Nigeria, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Qatar, focused on how India is poised to usher in a new era of growth in the oil and gas economy of the world with its advantages of technological advancement, favourable policies, robust economic growth and industry expertise.

The ministers and representatives took turns to shed light on the oil and gas industry scenario in their respective nations, the policies that favour an investment in their countries , and how India can play an integral role in the proliferation of successful energy partnerships.

Speaking on the occasion , Afghanistan’s acting Minister of Mines and Petroleum, H.E. Ghezal Habib Yar Safi, said “Afghanistan sits on rich deposits of oil and gas, and with the right collaboration, can not only develop an industry that meets the energy demands of the whole country but supply surplus resources to neighbouring countries like India. Greenfield refineries are a major investment opportunity for India, a country which has world-class expertise on the subject.”

Energy Advisor to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, H.E. Dr.Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, said that consumer and producer oil price balancing is the need of the hour, along with a shift from the traditional firewood to cleaner energy sources. “Our depleting oil and gas resources warrant a need to explore the resource-abundant Bay of Bengal region. We already have many strategic partnerships with India and other neighbours in this regard, but need further investment to develop more LNG-based power plants, gas pipelines, frugal innovations in the sector and greater efficiency” he added. Bhutan’s Minister of Economic Affairs, H.E. LyonpoLekeyDorji,raised the issue of oil price fluctuations causing economic concerns in developing countries. He praised India for providing Bhutan with enough energy to meet its demands, detailing how the supply of subsidized LPG and kerosene from India has helped low income people’s livelihood. “We not only need to foster diversification of the energy mix, but develop alternative means of energy in order to combat climate change. India can help us not only develop our hydrocarbons sector, but facilitate a shift towards exploitation of hydroelectric, biomass, solar and wind energy.”

H.E. Fernando Coelho Filho of Brazil highlighted the extreme size of his country and shared a recent 50 billion barrel oil discovery in the Santos offshore basin which provides a great opportunity to investors. He also added, “We are a huge potential market for LNG. Our improved practices, regulations and policies will readily accept any infrastructural and industrial investment in the oil and gas extraction and production with open arms.”

Cyprus’ Minister of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism, H.E. YiorgosLakkotrypis, pointed out the inherent requirement for isolated energy system in the country. Huge discoveries of natural gas within Cyprus’ economic zones have allowed them to enter into exploration & production agreements with neighbouring nations, as well as with multinational oil & gas majors. Cyprus’s major goal, he said, is to focus on alternative sources of energy, especially solar.

Mauritius’ Minister of Industry, Commerce & Consumer Protection, Hon’bleAshit Kumar Gungah, reiterated the excellent economic bilateral ties that Mauritius enjoys with India. He described the future of energy that is being envisaged in Mauritius. “Seeing how vulnerable we are to environmental degradation, we need sustainable energy solutions for the future. We have ambitious plans to provide 80% of our energy via solar and wind resources. For that, we need H.E. Janardhan Sharma of Nepal explained how new legal framework, discovery of hydrocarbons, cross-country pipelines and potential hydroelectric energy generation makes Nepal a great option for those looking to invest. “We are a small country looking to move from traditional cooking fuels to renewable sources of energy and India can play a crucial role in that.”

Nigeria’s Minister of State, Petroleum Resources,H.E. Dr. Emmanuel IbeKachikwu, regaled the audience with a childhood story of him running for firewood, and stressed upon the importance of shifting to alternative energy sources, supply and demand balance, and sustained energy security. Nigeria, like most of Africa, has vast oil & gas reserves. “India can provide robust investment in upstream and downstream, infrastructure support, technical expertise and resource management techniques to Nigeria so that Nigeria and the rest of Africa, can be at par with global energy giants.” The next speaker , Minister of Energy and Industry & the current OPEC president, H.E. Dr. Mohammed Saleh Abdullah Al-Sada, highlighted the key role OPEC is playing in regulating and balancing the global oil market, and how gas is the immediate future of energy due to its reliability, affordability and as well as its low ecological impact. He also went on to describe how India is one of the key beneficiary of low oil prices.

Sri Lanka’s Cabinet Minister of Petroleum & Gas, H.E. ChandimaWeerakkody, co-related the country’s oil and gas industry with its tourism boom, and how they plan to introduce Piped Natural Gas in domestic sector. “We thank India for helping us move away from coal to Natural Gas. With many collaborations with India in place, we hope to develop and exploit cleaner alternative sources of energy. Our recent Natural Gas discoveries are attractive investment opportunities, “ he added In view of Dr. Daniel Yergin, the need of the hour is a more prolific and mutually-beneficial inter-country collaboration on energy security, trade, infrastructure, cost reduction, global greenhouse gas emission control, investment and standards of operation and production via bilateral, regional or inter-governmental channels so that both energy producing and consuming countries can move towards a secure and sustained energy future.