India to partner with African nations to achieve energy security: Pranab

November 14th, 2007 - 8:35 am ICT by admin  
Inaugurating the India-Africa Hydrocarbon Conference here, Mukherjee said that the newly created Energy Security Unit in the MEA would maintain close coordination with other ministries concerned as well as public and private corporate entities to support their international engagement through appropriate diplomatic intervention.

He went on to say that India needs to expand its current primary energy supply levels by three to four times and electricity generation by five to six times in the next two and half decades to sustain the high growth levels required to attain the developmental goals and eradicate poverty. He underlined that the task of investing in overseas energy assets has therefore become an important aspect of our economic diplomacy.

In addition, he said, “the possibility of bilateral cooperation in the downstream sectors, petrochemicals, non-conventional energy and joint ventures are constantly being explored with various resource-rich countries.”

Mukherjee further said that India was increasingly looking at taking forward its partnership with Africa, as the country was a natural market for Africa’s rich hydrocarbon resources. Prospects for cooperation with African nations have received a boost with a surge in investments by Indian companies in countries such as Libya, Sudan, Nigeria, Egypt and Gabon over the past few years, he added.

“India stands ready to share its experience with its African partners in the hydrocarbon sector, from exploration to distribution through refining, storage and transportation. It is crucial that over a period of time, investment in this sector should directly assist in the building up of a trained and skilled workforce capable of efficiently running the assets,” Mukherjee said.

The first ever India-Africa Hydrocarbon Conference and Exhibition will conclude tomorrow.

The Conference is the first initiative of its kind by the Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG) Ministry, jointly with FICCI.

The India-Africa engagement in the hydrocarbon sector assumes significance in view of Africa’s potential as an investment destination for India’s oil and gas companies; and, in particular, Africa’s potential to play an increasing role in enhancing India’s oil supply security through diversification of its crude oil import sources.

A significant quantity of India’s crude oil imports are currently being sourced from Africa and given that the continent is expected to contribute approximately 25 per cent of the growth in the world’s petroleum and LNG supplies over the next three years, there is enormous potential for India to increase its volumes of crude oil imports from African countries in the future.

With 10 per cent of the world’s total oil and gas reserves, Africa’s hydrocarbon exploration potential remains relatively untapped. There are significant opportunities for Indian companies to increase their exploration efforts in the continent, in line with the Government of India’s objective of acquisition of overseas oil equity. (ANI)

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