India, US energy talks to focus on gas trade, investment | India News

NEW DELHI: India and the US will hold the second ministerial meeting on strategic energy partnership on Friday in the backdrop of the global energy market trying to recover from the impact of a historic price crash and record slump in demand due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan will co-chair the virtual meeting with US energy secretary Dan Brouillette. The meeting, originally scheduled to be held in Washington in April this year but postponed due to the pandemic, is expected to focus on natural gas and India’s expanding market for the clean-burning fuel.
India had in February 2018 elevated the India-US Energy Dialogue to a Strategic Energy Partnership (SEP). The SEP was formally announced during the visit of Prime minister Narendra Modi to the US in June 2017. The first ministerial meeting was held in New Delhi on April 17, 2018 between Pradhan and the then US energy secretary Rick Perry. A joint gas task force (GTF) was also set up under the umbrella of the energy partnership.
The partnership was established to develop innovative policy recommendations for New Delhi to bolster the government’s vision for natural gas in India’s economy and seeks to advance the strategic and economic interests of both countries. The GTF had identified three areas that need to be addressed to expand gas use in India and trade with the US. These are, pricing — markets and regulation, strengthening of gas infrastructure and stimulating natural gas demand growth.
Pradhan chaired an industry-level interaction organized by the partnership on Tuesday ahead of the official talks. During the interaction, he invited US companies and investors to engage with India and invest in new opportunities in the country.
He said that there have been a few collaborative efforts between Indian and American companies in this sector but it is far below the potential. Even during these challenging times, India and the US have been working in close collaboration, be it in stabilizing global energy markets or in collaborative efforts to address COVID-19, he said. “In today’s turbulent world, one constant is – and always will be – the strength of our bilateral partnership.”
Pradhan said that cooperation in natural gas sector has been identified as a priority area, the statement said, adding that he also mentioned about several upcoming new opportunities in the field of LNG bunkering, LNG ISO container development, petrochemicals, bio-fuels, and compressed biogas in the Indian energy sector.
Pradhan also talked about the far-reaching changes and policy reforms underway in the exploration and production sector in India.
He said India will see an investment of over $118 billion in oil and gas exploration as well as in setting up natural gas infrastructure, including the development of gas supply and distribution networks, in the next five years as the country gears up to meet the needs of a fast-growing economy.

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