West coast refinery is a reality: Pradhan
Political stalemate continues in Maharashtra - the Indian state where a mega oil refinery is planned in partnership with Adnoc and Saudi Arabia's Aramco.
On Tuesday, the state was placed under the President's rule as no political party, including the Narendra Modi-led BJP, succeeded in forming the government.
Will the political instability hurt India's crucial project? However, Indian Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan allayed such fears.
"I don't think. West Coast refinery is a reality. India needs that refinery and we will be moving ahead with that project. I had a long discussion with (Adnoc Group CEO and UAE Minister of State) Dr Sultan Al Jaber on this issue. We are confident. We will do that," Pradhan told Khaleej Times in an exclusive chat and said work on a formal deal is going on.
Apart from Dr Jaber, Pradhan held array of meetings with ministers from the UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Opec secretary-general Mohammed Barkindo and heads of energy companies at the ongoing Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC). He clarified there weren't any major announcements coming from each meetings but these were done more for 'continuity' as India made efforts to move towards a gas-based economy.
"India has plans to implement $100 billion of energy infrastructure. For this you need affordable technology, good people, new models and ideas, and these are places to get that. Adipec is becoming more happening part of the oil and gas industry. Due to our geographical proximity we are one of the beneficiaries. These are for continuity."
Invest in India
The minister said that such meetings with chiefs of energy firms serve as an invitation to invest in the country. "I invited Vitol Group to invest in the entire spectrum of oil and gas value chain, especially in the area of biofuels and fuel retailing and partner in the India's growth story."
Pradhan noted that companies in energy business are looking towards India, especially because of recent corporate tax cuts, ease of doing business and liberalisation of fuel retailing norms.
"Growth in energy industry is only in India. The country is number three consumer in the world. By next decade we will be number one consumer. Our per capita energy consumption is very low, its' one-third of the world average. It is gradually increasing."
He underlined that Modi stresses on need to eliminate energy poverty and have energy justice. Affordability, accessible, sustainability and energy security are the four pillars of energy justice strategy.
"India's engagement with the rest of the world increased manifold in the last five years in securing the energy future based on the four pillars of energy envisioned by PM Modi."
Pradhan added that the aim of his visit is also to look into the possibility of exporting steel to Middle East. "We want to create India as a manufacturing hub. Not only raw steel, manufacturing goods, using our steel capability how we can create a network is one of our agenda." - firstname.lastname@example.org
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