BP to Rosneft: Energy companies' CEOs tell their India plan to PM Modi

Photo: Reuters
Global oil and gas majors lined up their plans when they interacted with Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday night, appearing bullish on the country’s prospects as gas and renewable energy market 

Modi wooed industry majors for investments in India’s energy sector, seeking ideas from them to drive growth. The event—held on a secured virtual platform extended for almost two-and-a-half hours witnessed participation of around 40 chief executive officers from the oil and gas sector, with around 28 leaders presenting their views to the Prime Minister.

Each industry leader spoke for an average of around two to three minutes. The key speakers included CEOs of major oil and gas companies, including Rosneft, BP, Total, Lyondell Basell, Tellurian, Schlumberger, Baker Hughes, JERA, Emerson and X-Coal, participated in the meeting. The event was organised by NITI Aayog and Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, highlighted that India is UAE’s key trading partner and it is the first country to have participated in the strategic petroleum reserves (SPR) by India and is actively looking at more such opportunities. Adnoc is also a partner in the planned $44 billion Ratnagiri refinery. Jaber expressed full commitment towards meeting India’s energy requirement.

Saad Sherida al-Kaabi, Minister of State for Energy in Qatar and CEO of Qatar Petroleum, said the country is committed to having a long-term liquefied natural from (LNG) supply with India. India imports around 8.5 million tonnes per annum of LNG from Qatar under two long-term contracts. He welcomed plans to have investments to the tune of $60 billlion in gas infrastructure in India and said the move will drive India towards a low-carbon economy.

Igor Sechin, chairman of Russia’s Rosneft, said his company has already invested almost $15 billion in Essar Energy and is already looking for more such opportunities in the Indian oil and gas market. He also thanked Indian state-run oil companies that participated in oil and gas projects in Russia.  

Bernard Looney, CEO of BP Plc UK, appreciated India’s solar mission and said it proved the country’s commitment towards COP-21 pledge. Looney said BP is now moving from an oil to an integrated-energy company. He stated that the company has already made $10 billion worth of investments in India and are committed towards more. He highlighted the company’s interests in entire value-chain including solar, renewables and bio-fuels too.

Patrick Pouyanne, chairman & CEO of Total S.A., France, expressed ambitions for the biofuels and hydrogen sector while showcasing its existing gas-sector tie-ups with Adani group in LNG and also city gas distribution. Only three Indian business leaders presented their views during the event, that included Mukesh Ambani (Chairman & MD, Reliance Industries), Anil Agarwal (Chairman of Vedanta Resources) and Shashi Shankar (CMD of ONGC).

Ambani congratulated Modi for the lowest fatality and highest recovery rate on Covid and his fiscal prudence. He also lauded the government on agriculture (farm bills), labour and health and education reforms. He said that RIL will remain committed towards decarbonisation pathways would like to collaborate with companies on sectors like hydrogen and renewables.

Agarwal said his company has already invested $22 billion in the Indian market and is producing 200,000 barrels a day and has a commitment to go to around 1 million barrels per day. He appreciated Indian upstream reforms like marketing and pricing freedom, monetization of explored fields and CBM policy. He said India has a liberal fiscal and regulatory regime.

Modi woos investors

During the interaction, Prime Minister highlighted that the core of the government’s policy is providing equitable access to clean, affordable and sustainable energy to all Indians, for which the country has adopted an integrated approach.

He underlined that with the government taking a series of policy steps to make India an attractive investment destination, there are tremendous opportunities in the energy sector in India. India now allows 100 per cent FDI in exploration and production projects and has permitted 49 per cent FDI in public sector refining under the automatic route. These reforms are translating into increased FDI flow in the sector, he said.

He added that the country is taking steps to move towards a gas-based economy and said that a gas pipeline network is being developed to achieve ‘One Nation One Gas Grid’. He also talked about efforts towards expanding city gas distribution networks to assist the supply of cleaner cooking and transportation fuels. He further highlighted that India is also aiming to become a hub for chemicals and petrochemicals manufacturing and exporting.

Modi noted that human needs and aspirations cannot be in conflict with the natural surroundings. He said that India believes in both human empowerment and care for the environment. He added that the country is working towards the reduction of import dependence of fuel through increased use of ethanol, second-generation ethanol, compressed biogas and biodiesel. He said that based on the philosophy of sustainable development, India has made efforts to nurture new institutions like the International Solar Alliance, adding that our goal is ‘One World, One Sun, One Grid’. 

Highlighting the importance of India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy, Prime Minister said that India is strengthening energy engagement with its neighbouring countries Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Myanmar.

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