As the fastest growing economy of the world, India’s energy demand will grow faster than that of any other country in the G-20 between today and 2030. The Indian government is deeply concerned about the rising share of crude oil imports rising Coal and natural gas imports. This makes the debate of energy security and energy independence imperative.
- Aims to reduce rather than increase the share of imported oil, gas and coal.
- To buy acreages in oil and gas fields and in coalmines beyond India’s shores. The assumption is that such overseas assets will deliver energy resources to India’s shores in times of crisis.
Roadblocks for Energy Independence
- The technological backwardness and fund crunch is major roadblock to exploit the overseas fields efficiently.
- Naval capacity and lack of oil tankers to transport.
- Widespread piracy off the Somalian coast is still not checked.
- The south china sea issue is still a conundrum and proves to be hindrance for ONGC Videsh Ltd. for efficient exploration in south china sea.
- Our territorial and off shore reserves are not sufficient to fulfil our demand.
It means the availability of adequate quantities of critical resources, at prices that are affordable and predictable, with minimum risk of supply disruptions, to ensure sustainability for the environment and future generations.
Such security will require meeting four imperatives: assured supply, safe passage, secure storage, and a seat at one or more international forums involved in international energy trade and governance.
In the short term energy security seems to be a better option
- Uplifting of sanctions from Iran, healthy relations with Gulf countries and MoU for Oil Aid by UAE could open more avenues for check mating the supply gap.
- India can explore new Oil suppliers from Latin America’s (esp. Venezuela) and Africa (Nigeria, Ethiopia etc.).
- The ambitious Solar Power Mission and New Delhi’s leadership in creating ISA could be a boon for our energy security and our compliance for SDGs.
Energy security can be improved by
- Diversify the energy co-operation with multiple countries rather than sole dependence on Middle east which is constantly going through a turmoil.
- A quadrilateral relationship with India -US-japan and Australia will help India reap the benefits of Australia’s rich Coal and LNG resources accompanied by technology transfer and co-operation on renewable energy
- The new exploration licensing policy encourages domestic oil exploration by incentivizing exploration in difficult terrains and ensuring free pricing policy, which will to decreasing the share of imports.
- Efforts to improve renewable energy sources will also help meet part of energy requirements in the coming years
- Construction of Oil passage pipelines between India and other countries such as Middle East (West Asia). Negotiations for pipeline construction between Russia and India and TAPI are such efforts.
- Improved naval capacities and naval connectivity.
- Co-operation with other nations for a combined effort on protecting maritime security is needed.
- Safe storage: Development of infrastructure for storage of sustainable oil reserves is vital, the recent steps such as development of petroleum reserves amounting to about 5 mmt and plan to add additional capacity are welcome, however the available storage is low compared to OECD countries and the requirements of India. Thus a regulatory body for proper planning and co-ordination will help.
Global cooperation on energy security to ensure transparency in energy markets, security of maritime ways etc. are the need of the time and calls attention of India to direct its foreign policy to ensure energy security. However, energy independence can be viewed as a long term solution for an energy hungry nation like India.
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