India taking lead to create alliance of gas importers: Pradhan

Mumbai, Jun 14 The country is taking the lead for creating an alliance of gas importers across the world for "reasonable and affordable" pricing of the fuel, Union Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan today said.

"We must have a cooperation between all the LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) and gas consuming countries, we must create a situation for a reasonable, rational and affordable price. India is taking the lead to create a network between these major gas consumers," Pradhan told reporters here today.

dharmendra pradhan

Calling gas as an important fuel for the next two decades which will be an important constituent of the country's energy basket, Pradhan said the state-run Gail is taking the lead in the company-to-company negotiations at the international level. It is already in touch with companies in Japan and South Korea, the Minister said, adding that China can also be a partner in the future.

Pradhan added that according to some estimates, India and China will account for 90 per cent of the incremental gas demand in the next two decades. Addressing the Gateway of India Dialogue, Pradhan said the country imported 37 per cent of its gas requirements last year.

Commenting on his upcoming Russian visit, Pradhan said he will be attempting to make the traditionally warm ties more stronger and added that state-run ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) is in talks to take another 11 per cent stake in the Vankor oilfield owned by Ronsneft.

The bidding for the 67 assets offered under the latest NELP will begin after July 15, once the oil ministry gets done with roadshows in Guwahati, Bengaluru, Calgary, London, Dubai and Singapore, he said. As a potential beneficiary of the Turkeministan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline, New Delhi wants to expedite work on it faster but geopolitics is a concern, Pradhan added.

When asked about Mahanagar Gas Ltd's IPO, he said the city gas company is bound to grow given the demand for clean fuels in our cities and wished best for the offering.

He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi's foreign visits have helped the energy security agenda and the upcoming one in Mozambique will help in expediting the commercial exploitation of the Roboma field.

Pradhan said the country is also trying to work as an energy hub in Asia, and is already supplying power to neighbours including Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Bhutan, while negotiations are also on with Myanmar to supply power.

He also said that the current low prices of oil commodities is a "new normal" and the buyers will continue to have an upper-hand in deals.


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