India, US discuss potential energy sector projects

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on July 17, 2020

Dharmendra Pradhan, Petroleum Minister

New Delhi eyes storing crude oil in US strategic oil reserves

India and the US have discussed potential projects where companies from both nations can jointly participate in the energy sector.

These discussions were held during talks co-chaired by US Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette, and Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, and Steel Dharmendra Pradhan. This virtual ministerial meeting took place under the US-India Strategic Energy Partnership (SEP) to review progress, highlight major accomplishments, and prioritise new areas for cooperation.

The focus of talks and agreements signed spread across the energy sector value chain. There were agreements in energy efficiency, regulatory consistency, and commercial prospectivity, among others between the two countries. “The sides noted the significant increase in bilateral hydrocarbon trade since the establishment of SEP, with the bilateral hydrocarbon trade touching $9.2 billion during 2019-20, marking a 93 per cent increase since 2017-18, and affirmed to promote greater hydrocarbon trade between the two countries,” an official statement said.

“The sides took note of their governments’ strong commitment to advance our civil nuclear cooperation, and welcomed recent progress on the Westinghouse commercial reactor project at Kovvada, which represents an important milestone in our strategic relationship,” the statement said.

“The two sides agreed to support each other’s vision of national development in the energy sector and encourage investment, including sharing a list of potential projects in which the companies from both sides can be encouraged to invest,” the statement added.

This partnership was established in April 2018 at the direction of President Donald J Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, recognizing the strategic importance of energy to the US-India bilateral relationship.

Elaborating on the developments during the conference, the statement said, “Through the US-India Natural Gas Task Force, US and Indian industry forged new commercial partnerships on innovative projects and developed a series of policy and regulatory recommendations to support the Government of India’s vision to increase the share of natural gas in India’s energy sector. The sides have also held numerous public-private dialogues to provide industry perspectives on challenges and opportunities to trade and investment across the energy sector.”

MoU on petroleum reserves

The sides signed a memorandum of understanding to begin cooperation on strategic petroleum reserves operation and maintenance, including exchange of information and best practices. “They also discussed the possibility of India storing oil in the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve to increase their nation’s strategic oil stockpile,” the statement said.

The two sides also launched a public-private Hydrogen Task Force to help scale up technologies to produce hydrogen from renewable energy and fossil fuel sources and bring down the cost of deployment for enhanced energy security and resiliency.

“They also signed an MoU to collaborate on India’s first-ever Solar Decathlon India in 2021, establishing a collegiate competition to prepare the next generation of building professionals to design and build high efficiency buildings powered by renewables,” the statement added.

Published on July 17, 2020

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