International Energy Agency (IEA) has invited India, the world’s third-largest energy consumer, to become its full-time member, India’s oil Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said after online discussions with IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol.
If India accepts the invitation, New Delhi will be required to raise its strategic oil reserves to 90 days stock. India’s current strategic oil reserves equal 9.5 days of its requirement.
“As a natural corollary to the India IEA strategic partnership, Dr Birol invited India to deepen its cooperation with IEA by becoming a full Member,” Puri tweeted without saying if the full-time member was acceptable to the government or not.
In March 2017, India had become an associate member of the Paris-based body which advises industrialised nations on energy policies. In January this year, IEA members and India agreed to enter into a strategic partnership, strengthening their collaboration across a range of vital areas including energy security and clean energy transition.
On its website, IEA states that “India is becoming increasingly influential in global energy trends.” Its in-depth report on India’s energy policies, which was released in January 2020, states that the country’s demand for energy is set to grow rapidly in the coming decades, with electricity use set to increase particularly fast.
The country’s reliance on fuel imports makes further improving energy security a key priority for the Indian economy, IEA had said in the report.
IEA is made up of 30 member countries and eight associate nations. Four countries are seeking accession to full membership – Chile, Colombia, Israel and Lithuania. The IEA was founded in 1974 by industrialised countries – within the framework of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) – in response to the oil embargo. Starting in 2015, the IEA has been opening its doors to major emerging economies that are at the centre of the global conversation on energy. Since then, eight countries have joined the IEA’s Association programme: Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Morocco, Singapore, South Africa and Thailand. Along with the 30 members and the countries formally seeking accession, this expanded IEA now represents 75% of global energy demand, the website said.