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India’s New Oil Minister To Focus On Boosting Production

India’s newly appointed Petroleum Minister, Hardeep Singh Puri, plans to boost domestic production of oil and gas and increase the role of natural gas in the country’s energy mix as India works toward a $5-trillion economy.

Puri, who takes over Dharmendra Pradhan, said in a statement carried by Business Standard: “As we transform towards a $5-trillion economy, energy availability and consumption will be of paramount importance. My focus will be on increasing domestic production of crude and natural gas.”

The new Petroleum Minister also vowed to increase natural gas’ share in the energy mix to 15 percent by 2030 as he works “towards development of a natural gas-based economy”.

Since 2015, India’s domestic crude oil production has fallen from 35.5 million tons to just over 29 million tons in 2020-2021 due to ageing oilfields and, more recently, the pandemic lockdown.

India is struggling with record-high prices. High crude oil prices have resulted in an over 19-percent increase in petrol prices and a 21-percent increase in diesel prices since the beginning of the year, making the current OPEC+ deadlock of extreme significance for India, Indian Express reported.

Prices at the pump are painful for residents of India, who did not benefit from low international crude oil prices last year due to high excise duties on petrol and diesel levied by the government, according to Indian media reports, which note that India has the highest fuel taxes in the world.

Adding more natural gas to the mix and reducing India’s dependence on imports will be key to turning this $2.89-trillion economy (pre-COVID) into a $5-trillion economy.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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