India's Four-plank Strategy For Energy Security
• According to Oil Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, India's four-pronged energy security strategy focuses on diversifying supply sources, increasing domestic oil and gas production, moving to alternative energy sources, and utilizing gas and green hydrogen as a bridge to the energy transition.
• While the country depends on imports for 85% of its oil needs and 50% of its needs for natural gas, India is blending ethanol made from sugarcane and other agricultural products with gasoline to reduce its dependency on foreign sources.
• By 2025, it will blend 20% ethanol with gasoline, according to Puri.
• India's four-pronged energy security strategy diversification of energy supplies, expanding exploration and production footprint, utilizing alternative energy sources, and addressing energy transition through the gas-based economy, green hydrogen, and EVs has allowed it to navigate through the most formidable energy crisis the world has seen since the 1973 oil crisis, he said.
• By adding new suppliers including Columbia, Russia, Libya, Gabon, and Equatorial Guinea, among others, India raised the number of its crude oil suppliers from 27 countries in 2006–07 to 39 in 2021–22.
• To create fuels like gasoline and diesel, crude oil that has been mined from below the surface of the earth and is processed. Natural gas is also discovered underground and is utilized to create electricity, fertilizer, and CNG to fuel cars and supply houses with gas for cooking.
• Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, energy costs skyrocketed around the world, but Indian customers were largely shielded because state-owned merchants did not raise prices in line with the surge.
• According to Puri, prices for diesel, the most popular fuel in the nation, increased by just 3% between December 2021 and December 2022, compared to increases of 34% in the US, 36% in Canada, 25% in Spain, and 10% in the UK.
• Diesel prices increased from Rs 86.67 to Rs 89.62 per liter between December 2021 and December 2022. Petrol prices increased from Rs. 95.41 to Rs. 96.72 per liter.
• A decrease in excise duty helped to mitigate the surge. In 2020, when the pandemic had a negative impact on the price of energy globally, the government increased the excise charge on gasoline by Rs. 13 per liter and that on diesel by Rs. 15 per liter. In two instalments, in November 2021 and May 2022, this hike was rolled back.
• Some states have also reduced the local sales tax or VAT on fuel to benefit consumers.
• Puri stated that by 2025 and 2030, respectively, the government plans to raise India's exploration area to 0.5 million square kilometers and 1 million square kilometers.
• More findings will result from exploration across a larger area, increasing domestic oil and gas production and reducing dependency on imports.
• Additionally, India pushed its objective to attain 20% ethanol blending in fuel from 2030 to 2025-26, increasing the amount from 1.53 percent in 2013–14 to 10.17 percent in 2022.
• On April 1, 2023, the E20 phased rollout will start, he stated.
• Concurrently, the government is expanding supply by constructing compressed biogas (CBG) facilities, which use agricultural and animal waste to produce gas.
• He added that the National Green Hydrogen Mission has declared an incentive of Rs 19,744 crore for making India a hub for the production of green hydrogen, the fuel of the future with no carbon imprint. The goal is to create at least 5 million tons of green hydrogen annually by 2030.
• By May 2024, fuel retailers will have installed CNG, LPG, and EV charging stations at 22,000 gas stations as part of the energy transition.