India will be a major green hydrogen hub in the next 15 years, meeting not only domestic demand but also becoming a key exporter of the promising fuel, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said.
Speaking at the CII Annual Session 2023, Puri said the demand for green alternatives to traditional fuel has been growing in India at a fast clip, and from various sources.
Implementing one per cent sustainable aviation fuel in all domestic flights by 2030, would require 140 million litres of ethanol.
“This is a net gain not only for aviation but agriculture also,” he stressed.
Puri said that since the beginning of the Ukraine war, many countries cut green transition goals, but not India. He said Indian industry has also started to rapidly expand its plans to tap into the green transition.
However, the minister added the country can’t afford to stop investments in expanding its source of traditional fuels. “I can guarantee that our domestic exploration and production would go up exponentially,” he said.
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About 85 per cent of India's domestic petroleum demand continues to be imported.
Even though domestic gas production is going up 18 per cent a year, the country's reliance on imported liquified natural gas (LNG) has remained static.
Up to 25 per cent of the global increase in demand for energy is expected to come from the Indian market in the next 20 years, he said.
The government has said that given India’s size and complexity, it cannot afford even a marginal disruption in supply availability.
Prices can't be raised
“In India, you can't afford to suddenly raise prices,” Puri said. Even though India is following market principles with regard to setting the price, it continues to need some form of administered price mechanism, he added.
The minister said it is essential to prioritise affordability as there is no point in having accessibility without affordability.
Puri also hinted that the oil marketing companies have not raised prices based on this spirit, in contrast to the private sector.
“Many of the private pumps put up signs saying cheaper petrol is available 500 metres or 1 km ahead. This happens because under the system of law, it is contrary that a customer goes to a pump and it refuses to sell fuel to him,” Puri said. Private pumps, therefore, divert customers to other pumps, since they don’t want to sell at cheaper rates.