India, US agree to boost cooperation in oil, gas

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Dharmendra Pradhan

WASHINGTON, DC– Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and US Secretary for Energy Ernest Moniz have agreed to increase technical and institutional cooperation on hydrocarbons and energy, an official said here on Tuesday.

Indian Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan
Indian Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan

The two sides agreed to enhance cooperation in “assessment of both onshore and offshore conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon reserves in India, new technologies in development of biofuel and development of petroleum storage”, a petrolum ministry statement said of their meeting in Washington on Monday.

“Over the last decade, several areas of interest for cooperation like technology for production from marginal fields, shale structures, developing gas pipeline network, improving refinery efficiency had been identified,” it said.

The two ministers also agreed on the need for regular meetings of officials and experts from both sides, the statement added.

During his just-concluded visit to the US, Pradhan also launched a roadshow in Houston to promote the auction of 67 discovered small hydrocarbon fields in India.

The two sides agreed to enhance institutional and technical cooperation in specific areas such as:

Assessment and reassessment of conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon reserves in India both in onshore and offshore; New technologies in development of bio-fuel (2nd generation ethanol and bio-diesel); and Development of petroleum storage.

The India-US Energy Dialogue was launched in 2005 to promote increased trade and investment in the energy sector, through identification of further areas of co-operation and collaboration, while actively working with both the public and private sectors.

The cooperation on oil and gas is among one of the six work streams that are working under the aegis of India-US Energy Dialogue. Over the last decade, several areas of interest for cooperation in the field of oil and gas have been identified such as technology for production from marginal fields, shale structures, development of gas pipeline network and improving refinery efficiency etc. During the meeting with US Energy Secretary, the two Ministers appreciated the regular meetings of officials and experts from both sides for continued progress and cooperation in various verticals of energy sector.

It is worth noting that GAIL has contracted for import of LNG from the US to the tune of 5.8 MMT per year from end 2017. Indian companies have also invested in shale oil and gas projects in the US, i.e. GAIL has 20% equity in Eagle Ford basin; IOC and OIL have 10% equity in Niobrara basin).

The two sides referred to the successful visit of Prime Minister of India to the US during 6-8 June 2016 where all issues of importance including energy cooperation were discussed. During the PM visit, an MoU for cooperation in Gas Hydrates was also renewed for another period of five years. Both sides acknowledged a major positive shift in the trajectory of US-India relations and committed to explore new opportunities for co-operation. The US officials appreciated India’s efforts to promote new and renewable energy sources and India’s commitment towards climate and clean energy.

On the sidelines, Minister Pradhan also met with the US Special Envoy & Coordinator for International Energy Affairs Mr. Amos Hochstein and discussed the continued bi-lateral cooperation in the energy sector. The Minister also addressed a gathering of business leaders, energy experts and senior US Government officials organized by Dr. Daniel Yergin, Vice President of IHS. The business interactions elicited positive reviews from entities with investments in India, who acknowledged a tangible improvement in the doing business environment. The senior US administration officials acknowledged a major positive shift in the trajectory of US-India relations and committed to explore new opportunities for co-operation.

The Hon’ble Minister was accompanied in his meetings by Arun Singh, Ambassador of India to the US and other members of the delegation, comprising of Chairman and Managing Directors (CMDs) of ONGC, Oil India and GAIL.

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