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India Predicts 500% Increase In Domestic Natural Gas Demand

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday projected that the country’s gas demand would rise 500% due to the rapid pace of development, while its share of global oil demand would more than double.

While the Indian prime minister did not offer a specific time frame for this major boost in demand, he said that the country’s energy demand would be highest in the present decade.

Modi’s statement, delivered during the opening ceremony of India Energy Week 2023, coincides with a recent OPEC report that expects India to be the largest contributor to incremental demand, with the country expected to add some 6.3 million bpd until 2045.

Overall, OPEC said it saw demand increasing to 110 million bpd in 2045, up from 97 million bpd in 2021. 

Modi predicts India’s share in global oil demand will increase from 5% to 11%. 

The Indian prime minister used the occasion to highlight the country’s plans to boost exploration and production, which he said would provide opportunities for investors. Right now, India relies on imports for some 85% of its energy needs, with India and China being the largest importers of oil and gas in the world. 

With this in mind, India will remove significant restrictions on exploration, reducing “no-go” areas for E&P companies. India also plans to expand its refining capacity, along with its LNG import capacity by 2030. 

Asia is now the biggest buyer of Russian crude since the imposition of Western sanctions following Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Some 70% of Russian Urals January loading cargoes were bound for India, according to Reuters data.

India’s oil minister, Hardeep Singh Puri, also said on Monday that regardless of Western sanctions, the country would not shun Russian oil, which it receives at a discount to Brent crude. 

“I will be very frank,” Puri said, “we will play the market card …”

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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