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Revival of gas power plants will enhance consumption: Pradhan

Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Monday said revival of 25 GW stranded gas-based capacity can push consumption of the fuel and transform the nation into a gas-based economy.

“We are taking the country towards a gas-based economy. If we revive 25,000 MW stranded gas-based capacity and bring them under competitive price mechanism then our gas consumption will definitely increase,” Pradhan told reporters on the sidelines of the India Energy Forum by CERAWeek.

The minister said, “In world, the gas constitutes 24 per of energy basket. In Gujarat it is 26 per cent. We want to replicate this success story (in other states). Power industry is primary growth and driving point (for gas-based economy).”

The government had brought in a Rs 7,500-crore Power System Development Fund scheme for revival of distressed gas- based capacities of over 24 GW for two years till March 31, 2017. The scheme was not continued further.

The minister also lauded the efforts of the Goods and Services Tax Council which gave some tax relief to oil exploration and production sector.

“Constant reforms in markets are the only strategy. We have done a lot of reforms in the country which attracted many big energy players in the country after three years of continuous efforts.”

About Saudi Aramaco, which opened its India office, the minister said that there is joint venture of three companies with Saudi Aramaco and they will work more closely in future.

Pradhan also said that Saudi Aramco has “categorically specified” that their investment would increase in India.

“They have assured the (oil) procurement will increase due to oil manufacturing industry which would create more jobs and improve standards.”

Talking about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s deliberation with energy sector stakeholders, he said, “The Prime Minister started a practice since last year. Domestic as well as firms from outside countries which have stake in India are called for discussion to apprise them about our country and listen to their view on energy business in India.”

“The Prime Minister has taken our relationship from a buyer seller to strategic ties. He has said that beside vertical growth, India is also doing horizontal growth. More capacity and technology is welcomed. But energy should reach commoners home.”

Earlier addressing the conference, the oil minister said that India will remain one of the fastest growing energy markets in the world in the coming two decades.

“Both on account of increasing access and better life styles, there will be growth in per capita energy consumption.

We will be an influential buyer in the global energy market.”

The minister said the India wants to know about what is happening to the OPEC cut agreements, trends in production from big non-OPEC producers such as Russia, shale gas output in the US etc as these situations would have impact on oil prices and subsequently on fiscal deficit and economy.

He further said, “World is at the crossroad of a major transition…move towards Electric Vehicle (EV). There is a sense of credence about this the only debate is probably the timing. This would decide if gas would act as an interim fuel or not.”

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