New Delhi: Union petroleum and natural gas minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Tuesday international oil suppliers must make earnest efforts for “responsible and reasonable pricing" to help a vast population in India deprived of energy escape “energy poverty" and secure “energy justice".
Addressing the plenary session of the 6th Asian Ministerial Energy Roundtable in Doha, the minister emphasised that crude oil pricing needs to be more of a win-win proposition.
“India recognizes the need to ensure that producing nations are not made to suffer uncertainties and revenue loss to wild swings in oil prices. Similarly, consuming nations like India wish to have greater transparency and balance in the oil market to ensure that their fiscal positions are not unduly stretched due to rising prices," Pradhan stressed.
Oil price volatility has deep implications for an import-dependent country like India. The country’s net crude import bill rose from $112.1 billion in 2010-11 to $155.7 billion in 2013-14.
But India’s per capita energy consumption is less than a third of the global average. Thus, as India strives to attain double-digit economic growth rate and become a manufacturing powerhouse, it is bound to see massive growth in energy demand. According to the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2014, India’s oil demand growth between 2013 and 2040 will be the highest in the world.
At the roundtable, Pradhan reiterated the demand to end the practice of charging an ‘Asian Premium’ and instead sought an ‘Asian Dividend’ for countries like India.
“People and policy makers in a developing economy like India find it unjust and unacceptable that reliable and large importers like India pay higher for crude import than the developed Western economies. In a more reasonable market, it should be the other way round and India should be getting an ‘Asian Dividend’. This has been the primary reason why the government is compelled to look at far off continents for sources of energy," Pradhan added.
The petroleum minister said Asian economies – both suppliers as well as importers - should take advantage of the present situation to forge stronger and strategic ties in the long-term interest to ensure growth and stability of the oil market.
He invited them to invest in India’s oil and gas sector saying that within the next four months, India will auction about 67 proven marginal fields.
Pradhan, during his visit, met International Energy Forum’s (IEF) Secretary General Aldo Flores-Quiroga on the sidelines of the roundtable event. IEF is an international energy organization which has 74 member countries working toward greater mutual understanding and awareness of common energy interests among the buyers and sellers of energy resources.