India, which imports most of its crude oil, is keen to move towards a geographically diversified energy basket that has resulted in a greater focus on Africa which can become a vital source for petroleum products in the coming years, the petroleum minister said.
Dharmendra Pradhan told a India-Africa conference on hydrocarbons that a growing interest of Indian oil companies in the continent was only one of the several reasons made him to believe that the two can have a strong partnership.
“India’s scarcity of domestic energy resources can be offset by Africa’s surplus energy reserves – which accounts for about 15% of current proved accessible global oil reserves,” he said.
Pradhan said the African hydrocarbon sector has been expanding rapidly over the past 20 years, as had been the interests of Indian oil companies in the continent.
“It is clear from our crude import figures that Africa has played an important role in India’s energy security. We imported 32 million metric tonnes of crude in 2014 from Africa, including three million metric Tonnes from North Africa and 29 million metric tonnes from West Africa, mainly from Nigeria and Angola. This constitutes approximately 16% of our consumption. This is going to increase in the coming years.,” he said.
India has been engaging extensively with Africa and held a India-Africa Forum summit in New Delhi last year that was attended by 41 heads of state and governments from Africa.
Pradhan said new discoveries in Africa had seen oil reserves rise by more than 100 percent, while gas reserves grew by 55 percent. “We believe that this will greatly improve Africa’s position as an exporter of not only oil but also gas.,” he said.
India, which is today the world’s fastest growing major economy, need more oil to fuel its economic engines at a time when the world at large is slowing down. According to the International Energy Agency,
India will contribute around 25 percent of the growth in global energy demand in the yeas to come to become the single-largest contributor to energy growth globally.
Pradhan said despite beig a net importer of crude, India had built significant capacities and capabilities in products and processing of hydrocarbons.
“India, with 23 refineries, has become a net exporter of petroleum products by investing in refineries designed for export. India has emerged as a refining hub with the fourth largest refining capacity in the world with 4.5% of world share,” Pradhan said, adding that the country’s downstream capabilities and technology would make it a strong partner through the industry value chain.