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In what may impact India’ energy security efforts, the country’ domestic crude and oil and gas production fell by 5.22% and 8.06% respectively during April 2020 to March 2021, as compared to the corresponding period in the previous financial year.

This comes in the backdrop of states imposing lockdowns which have a bearing on the consumption of the transportation fuel such as petrol and diesel. However, with people staying indoors, domestic cooking gas consumption is expected to go up.

“Crude oil production during March, 2021 was 2612.96 TMT which is 5.63% lower than target and 3.13% lower when compared with March, 2020. Cumulative crude oil production during April-March, 2020-21 was 30491.77 TMT which is 5.65% and 5.22% lower than target for the period and production during corresponding period of last year respectively," ministry of petroleum and natural gas said in a statement.

This production dip also comes at a time when the Indian government is working on diversifying the country’s energy basket with crude oil supplies from non-Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) sources, after the Opec-plus grouping’s decision to retain supply curbs.

India, the world’s third-largest oil importer spent $101.4 billion on crude oil imports in 2019-20 and $111.9 billion in 2018-19. India is a key refining hub in Asia, with an installed capacity of over 249.36 million tonnes per annum (mtpa). It has 23 refineries and plans to grow its refining capacity to 400 mtpa by 2025.

“Natural Gas production during March, 2021 was 2683.90 MMSCM (million standard cubic meters) which is 11.11% higher when compared with March, 2020 but 15.11% lower than the monthly target. Cumulative natural gas production during April-March, 2020-21 was 28670.60 MMSCM which is 14.60% and 8.06% lower than target for the period and production during corresponding period of last year respectively," the statement added.

This comes at a time when India has kept the domestic natural gas price unchanged at $1.79 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) for the first six months of the current financial year—under the domestic gas price regime, which was introduced in 2014. Also, the ceiling price for gas from difficult fields such as deep water, ultra-deep water and high pressure-high temperature areas for April-September was reduced to $3.62 per mmBtu from the earlier price of $4.06 per mmBtu.

Gas comprises about 6.2% of India’s primary energy mix, far behind the global average of 24%. The government plans to increase this share to 15% by 2030. India’s gas demand is expected to be driven by the fertilizer, power, city gas distribution, and steel sectors.

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