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ONGC to focus on alternative energy R&D

ONGC to focus on alternative energy R&D

New Delhi: As part of efforts to be present across alternative and renewable fuel sources, state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd (ONGC) will train its focus on these areas as well.

“The company board has given its approval to set aside Rs500 crore for research and development activities (in these segments)," R.S. Sharma, chairman and managing director of the firm, told reporters on the sidelines of the India Economic Summit in New Delhi on Monday.

In a related development, the hydrocarbon explorer announced that it has studied the log data of 900 wells and has identified pilot projects to explore uranium together with Uranium Corp. of India Ltd (UCIL). ONGC already has a uranium exploration agreement with UCIL.

According to existing guidelines, atomic energy is the exclusive preserve of the Union government. While nuclear power plants can be set up only by the Nuclear Power Corp. of India Ltd (NPCIL), another public-sector firm under the department of atomic energy, uranium can be mined only by UCIL. NPCIL estimates India’s uranium reserves to be some 78,000 tonnes, around 0.8% of the world’s reserves.

Sharma was also part of a panel that debated India’s future energy needs at the summit. The other panel members were Tulsi Tanti, chairman and managing director, Suzlon Energy Ltd; Tejpreet Singh Chopra, national executive for India, General Electric Co.; Madhu Koneru, executive director, Trimex Group; and Baba N. Kalyani, chairman and managing director of Bharat Forge Ltd.

Participating in the debate, Sharma said, “Coal consumption for power generation is leading to carbon emissions. There is a huge potential for gas to contribute to the Indian energy basket." However, he was quick to defend India’s current emissions and said, “Indian emission levels are one-third of that of global emissions."

Sharma also spoke about the fuel pricing regime in the country and said that it needs to be “addressed".

The government subsidises consumers in India by regulating the pricing of petroleum products.

Sharma also told reporters that speculation has led to volatility in the international crude oil prices.

Kalyani and Tanti spoke about the need for raising power generation capacity.

“If we need to grow at 10-12%, the power sector needs to grow," Tanti said.

India has a power generation capacity of 150,000MW and aims to add 78,577MW in the five years to 2012. The country faces a 12% peak power shortage.


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