RPN Singh Gives Look East Thrust to Oil Diplomacy
MOS Petroleum Addresses East Asia Summit Energy Ministers’ Meeting at Brunei
The Minister of State, Shri RPN Singh, who is in Brunei to attend the East Asia Summit Energy Ministers’ Meeting (EAS EMM), gave a strong thrust to the country’s ‘Look East’ policy in the oil and gas sector. The two day event held on 20 and 21 September saw ten countries of ASEAN come together with Australia, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, China, India, Russia and the USA to discuss the opportunities and challenges faced by this region in the energy sector. The themes discussed were energy security, energy conservation and efficiency, non-conventional energy sources and climate change.
Speaking at the Meeting held at Darussalam (Brunei) Shri Singh highlighted the concern of emerging economies like India, largely dependent on imports to meet their energy needs, over the high and volatile international oil prices. Emphasising India’s position that the pricing of a finite resource such as oil could not be left unregulated, he called for greater transparency in the price formation of oil and measures to check the unhealthy influence of speculative over the counter trading in the paper barrels in some markets.
On the sidelines of the EMM, Minister Singh held bilateral discussions with the Energy Ministers of Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, Myanmar, Malaysia, USA, Brunei, and Vietnam besides international organizations such as the International Energy Agency and the Energy Charter Forum.
The thrust of Minister Singh’s bilateral talks was the diversification of India’s sources of supply of LNG. Seeking to start long term supply of LNG from Brunei, Indonesia, Australia and Malaysia, Minister Singh pointed out that India was one of the largest and fastest growing gas markets in the world, and it would be a win win situation for LNG producing countries of East Asia and India to forge long term relationships in this region. Natural Gas presently accounts for about 10% of India’s primary energy basket as compared to the world average of 24%. To popularize this versatile and environmentally benign fuel, the Government is doubling its present RLNG capacity of 13.6 million tons per annum to 26 million tons by 2016. The country is also building about 8,000 km of gas pipelines to transport gas across the country. It was highlighted that the demand for gas in the country was expected to grow at 14% during the next five years. This coupled with an overall economic growth rate of around 8% make India a very attractive market for any LNG supplier.
Talking to the CEOs of global oil companies on 21 September, Minister Singh made a strong pitch for India as an attractive investment destination. He pointed out India was seriously pursuing the development of non conventional hydrocarbons such as Shale Gas and Coal Bed Methane, and invited companies having experience and expertise in this sector to tie up with Indian companies in this regard. India’s interest in the upstream sector of Myanmar, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia was highlighted as was GAIL’s keenness to invest in the creation of LNG infrastructure in gas producing countries.