India still has unexploited potential of natural gas, says Bob Dudley of BP plc

Richa Mishra/Twesh Mishra New Delhi | Updated on October 14, 2019 Published on October 14, 2019

Bob Dudley, Group Chief Executive of BP plc   -  Reuters

Close to 100 TCF of natural gas resources yet to be found below ground.

A somewhat optimistic Bob Dudley, Group Chief Executive, BP plc, believes that India still has the unexploited potential of natural gas.

Dudley, who was at theIndia Energy Forum by CERAWeek”, said that “I believe that there are close to 100 trillion cubic feet of natural gas resources yet to be found below ground here in India. That in itself can meet half of the natural gas demand out to 2050.”

But a lot will depend on how the economics works out. “India also has the right resources above and below ground. It has relationships in place to maximise those resources. And it has a responsible policy in place to enable those relationships to run effectively and efficiently,” he added.

However, to develop these resources is not cheap, and it will be about good economics — pricing.

East coast deepwater has natural gas, but it is costly to develop and to do whatever to create the economics of price has to be suitable for the developer too, he hinted in a quick chat with media.

Dudley said that his optimism also comes from the work which BP is doing with partner in India— Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd. The partners have recently acquired one more block, and the existing asset is rearing to produce more.

Read also: Reliance, BP take over Niko’s 10% stake in KG-D6 block

“It’s going to take a lot of exploration and will require economics to be right. It’s expensive deeper offshore, but once you get the networks and the pipelines in place, India is going to need every fuel it can get,” he said.

“However, you need to do whatever you can do to replace coal with clean natural gas, and that will reduce emissions. And you can use India’s gas instead of buying expensive LNG,” he added.

Optimistic on partnership with Reliance

On the partnership, he said, “I am very optimistic about the joint venture we are forming with Reliance on the retail market. We will bring all types of new things, electrification, mobility, bringing convenience marketing together with Reliance has 1500 stations today and hitting over 5000 stations across India. There will be great growth rates regarding fuel in India.”

When nudged to share what brand this retail tie-up will be under, Dudley was quick to respond “it is a secret.”

On pricing, Dudley said, “we have $ 5 billion worth of projects coming on stream next May, and we would like to be able to sell gas in an open market to our customers as well as our own companies as well...if that happens there will be more development.” BP is partnering with Reliance Industries to bring about 1 billion cubic feet a day of new domestic gas on stream.

Earlier, in his address, Dudley, in a rather nostalgic note, said “This will be my last CERA Week as BP group chief executive. We’re undergoing our own energy transition at the top of BP just now. In Bernard Looney, we have an excellent choice as our next CEO. He will lead BP at an exciting time.”

On India, Dudley said, “the country has just experienced its fastest rate of energy consumption for more than a decade. And on current trends, it will be more than double from today’s levels by 2040.”

Dudley was upbeat about BP’s relations in India. “The $1 billion Green Growth Equity Fund we manage with partners in India will support the Indian government’s plans to increase renewable capacity to 450 GW over the next few years.”

“So, the resources are available; the relationships are in place, which leaves policy. And it’s here where India scores a hat-trick,” he added.

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Published on October 14, 2019
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