An engineer welds carbon steel pipes as part of a gas pipeline for Reliance Industries Ltd at Medak, some 175km from Hyderabad.
NEW DELHI: India’s foreign minister told energy firms yesterday to be more adventurous in searching for global oil supplies as a report warned of a likely large rise in the country’s fuel import needs.
Oil imports already make up 75 percent of consumption, a dependence which has caused India’s current account deficit to soar and prompted a crash in the value of the rupee. Import dependence is set to rise to at least 90 percent within two decades, according to a study by global consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) released yesterday.
“There will have to be a sense of adventure in us (to seek energy assets abroad).. and that has to come from within the Indian psyche,” Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid told an energy conference. Khurshid said he had recently visited conflict-racked Iraq as well as Saudi Arabia to push energy ties and found “nothing stood between them and our opportunities” except “our unwillingness to be a little adventurous”.
India in 2012 was the world’s fourth-largest energy consumer at 563 million tonnes of oil equivalent (MTOE), around a fifth of the consumption of heavily industrialised China with 2,735 MTOE, the report noted. Khurshid admitted rival China has “moved ahead of us, they’ve come with much more resources” in securing overseas supplies.
But he added India was still held in high esteem in many parts of the world, giving “us an opportunity to go there and fulfil our dreams”.
Since oil is India’s biggest import, the plummeting rupee and higher oil prices are raising its import bills. The forecast rise in oil dependence will only further increase “India’s vulnerability” to external oil price shocks, PwC said. PwC in its report prepared with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) said domestic fuel self-sufficiency was only a “distant possibility”, and India needs more energy assets abroad. AFP