India needs to increase its energy supply by 3 to 4 times within next two decades. It currently ranks as the world's seventh largest energy producer, accounting for just about 2.5% of the world's total annual energy production, while it is the 4th largest energy consumer. With oil and gas constituting around 41% of India's primary energy consumption, India is expected to be the third largest energy consumer by the year 2020.
Inaugurating the 8th Asia Gas Partnership Summit, the Prime Minister said that natural gas is the fuel of choice today. It is an efficient fuel for power generation. As a cleaner alternative for vehicles, it reduces air-pollution and leads to an improved quality of life.
The two-day summit is organized by FICCI and the Gas Authority of India Ltd. (GAIL) and supported by the International Gas Union (IGU) and Natural Gas Society.
Over the years, natural gas has become increasingly important as a source of energy in our country, with the rate of growth in natural gas consumption being the highest among all commercial energy sources. There are a variety of reasons for this including environmental concerns, the need for fuel diversification, energy prices and market deregulation.
Dr. Manmohan Singh said, "The natural gas sector has undergone a sea change in recent years in the global context as well. Rapid growth in the production of Shale gas in the United States has opened possibilities of similar success in other parts of the world. The technological and economic possibilities that the Shale gas revolution has opened up are likely to further change the global energy landscape in the years to come. There will be new producers, new consumers and new trading arrangements that will come into place. We too are hopeful that we will be fortunate in discovering Shale gas reserves in our country as well."
He said the Shale gas revolution has been made possible primarily by two factors - technology and market-based pricing. This is a combination that is essential to provide rapidly growing economies like ours with energy solutions commensurate with our needs.
He said that there are exciting opportunities in India for partnerships for joint investments in areas like gas pipeline development, LNG terminals, petrochemicals, gas trading hubs and city gas distribution.
Asia has been the driver of the global LNG demand. It accounts now for around 70% of all LNG traded globally. It is projected that Asia will continue to occupy the same share in global LNG demand which is likely to grow to 2 to 3 times the current levels by the year 2020.
"India is also progressively pursuing other options to achieve energy security. One of these is the acquisition of energy assets in other countries. These will not only help us in securing new supplies of energy but also in acquisition of the latest technological know-how," he said.
The Prime Minister said that the theme of the summit, 'Asian Gas Market: Challenges & Opportunities in the Changing Paradigm' is of great importance given the huge demand for natural gas in Asia, and the rapid developments which have recently taken place in the oil and gas sector. "I am sure the summit will help in finding creative solutions leading to stronger partnerships between buyers in Asia and international sellers. Despite having a huge demand for natural gas, countries like India are not able to secure adequate volumes owing to differences in price expectations between buyers and sellers."