Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan
File photo: Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan

India, the world's third-largest oil importer, wants more foreign investments in its oil and gas sector, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Wednesday November 6, as the country takes steps to woo companies, including a recent cut in corporate taxes.  India will secure capital, world-class technology and implement any policy reforms needed to become an international energy leader, Pradhan said at an energy conference in New Delhi.

"India wants to be the new destination for global energy players," he said. Oil producers worldwide are eager to gain a foothold in India, where fuel demand is expected to keep rising as the country's economy grows. India has already outlined plans to sell some state-owned companies to local or foreign investors by March 2020, including oil refiner Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd.

India to invest $100 billion by 2024

Even as the investment in the world energy market is fast switching towards electric and renewables, India is set to further strengthen its carbon footprint with an investment of over $100 billion over the next five years till 2024. Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, however, said that 60 per cent of this investment or $60 billion would be towards developing gas infrastructure including pipelines, LNG terminals and city gas distribution (CGD) network that would expand the use of this clean fuel throughout the country.

Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd.
Reuters File

"India is investing close to $60 billion in developing gas infrastructure by 2024 that is part of the massive $100 billion spendings by that time in the overall oil and gas sector," Pradhan said speaking at EnRich 2019, KPMG in India's Annual Energy and Natural Resources Conclave. The minister said that the investment would go into ensuring that per capita energy consumption in India grows. An average Indian gets only a third of the per capita consumption of energy that the UN believes is necessary for human well-being.

"We took lead in the global energy transition by promoting International Solar Alliance and today more than 80 countries have joined this alliance. India has a huge appetite for energy and will be a driver of global energy demand in coming decades," Pradhan said. He, however, added that the country's oil and gas industry would continue to play an important part in the country's total energy mix even during the transition. In the process, the companies in the sector would also transition from oil and gas to energy players, he said.