The government will take several strategic measures to ensure energy security and a more environment-friendly petroleum policy, said Petroleum Secretary M S Srinivasan today.
Delivering one of the Distinguished Lecture Series titled `Emerging Issues in the Hydrocarbon Sector’, Srinivasan said the new policy would include the operationalization of the petroleum regulatory board and providing a conducive investment climate for growth, execution of a strategic crude reserve plan in the next 36 months; enhancing capacity of Indian refineries; focus on unconventional sources; and training manpower.
In fact, it is not shortage of hydrocarbons, but the environmental consequences of exploration and production are the biggest challenges for all countries today.
Srinivasan said that resource nationalism with the emergence of national oil companies as big players has its disadvantages. “It can be inefficient, causes heavy wastage and can be environmentally damaging. Most of these countries burn (waste) large quantities of gas damaging the environment.”
He said, “We have to think of moving from a hydrocarbon economy to a hydrogen economy – the pollution caused by hydrocarbons can be very damaging. There are warnings that this pollution will lead to diseases we haven’t heard of; land mass will disappear and cities will submerge under water…”
New countries – Russia, Nigeria and Venezuela – have emerged in recent years as large suppliers of crude oil. To ensure energy security, India needs to diversify procurement. “We now have the resources , so we must tap different markets. India, however, has sufficient energy reserves and there is no need to panic.”
Admitting that refining sector has not received the needed attention, Srinivasan said that the government is working towards enhancing their capacities. It is also focusing more on non-conventional fuels and gas hydrates. “Within the next 36 months, a strategic crude reserve policy will be put in place. The government has already identified sites for storage. An additional five million tonnes of crude reserves will come from a public-private partnership initiative.”
The government is also considering training manpower to meet the challenges of rapid exploration and production. “We are considering formation of a technology institute among other initiatives in this direction,” Srinivasan said.
The Managing Director, Jindal Drilling and Industries Limited, Naresh Kumar, said India’s oil consumption has increased in the last few decades. “There is more investment – from the private and public sector and international companies – in this industry today,” he said. “India has the potential to become a refining hub, but there are several challenges the industry needs to overcome.” (ANI)