New Delhi, Jan 12: Drawing attention to the safety and security of oil and gas installations and their transport infrastructure, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Monday, Jan 12 said the recent terrorist attack in Mumbai should be seen as a direct strike at India"s economic development.
He was speaking at the inauguration of the plenary session of thr Petro-Tech 2009 here. Mukherjee said: “This unpardonable criminal attack only underscores the risk all countries face from economic sabotage, irrespective of whether these acts are authored by states or merely carried out by so-called non-state actors,"
The global hydrocarbons sector would increasingly be even more vulnerable to such threats, minister warned. Urging participants to deliberate on issues like stability of energy supplies, security of energy transportation and creation of new energy infrastructure, he said: “Its
protection has to be a common goal requiring coordination and cooperation of all countries."
Describing the energy deficit as one of the most important challenges to our economic development, he said: “The recently adopted Integrated Energy Policy envisages an energy mix that focuses on augmenting the domestic energy resource base and increasing efficiency while strategising our stakes in energy assets overseas."
Despite these energy constraints, Mukherjee said: “We are determined to maintain our rate of growth because that is the only way to defeat poverty and meet our human development goals." Notwithstanding the global economic gloom, he further said, “ We hope to grow at a seven per cent this year. India is backed by strong fundamentals like sustained high domestic savings and investment rates, productivity growth and domestic demand."
For India, he said, the main challenge is to ensure the continuous availability of safe, clean and accessible energy at commercially competitive prices. “Energy security concerns are central to our national interest and an important aspect of our economic diplomacy," he added. Terming the production of oil and gas as “modest" by international standards, he said: “India is a significant player in the entire spectrum of the hydrocarbon value chain."
“The Government of India favours a competitive and market oriented hydrocarbon sector with increasing private sector and foreign investment in all the important segments of the industry," he added. In the years to come, he said India"s growth plans would undoubtedly make “us a major contributor to the incremental global energy demand."
“As a growing energy market the potential for international investments is immense," he said.
Mukherjee later said that it is not difficult to visualize that a recovery from the existing global meltdown could witness a sharp demand driven increase in prices.
“This extreme price volatility underscores the price sensitivity to short-term market imbalances, diminishing global spare capacity and ultimately the finite nature of oil and natural gas resources," he said. The theme of the conference is 'Energy Independence with Global Cooperation: Challenges and Solutions'.