Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of State (I/C) for Petroleum & Natural Gas met the US Secretary of Energy Dr Ernest Moniz in Washington on Monday and the two Ministers reviewed bilateral energy cooperation, especially in oil and gas sector between the two countries.
The two sides agreed to enhance institutional and technical cooperation in specific areas:
• Assessment and reassessment of conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon reserves in India, both in onshore and offshore;
• New technologies in development of biofuel(2nd generation ethanol and bio-diesel);
• Development of petroleum storage
The bilateral energy cooperation between the two countries had started in the form of energy dialogue in 2005 under which oil and gas is also discussed.
Over the last decade, several areas of interest for cooperation like technology for production from marginal fields, shale structures, developing gas pipeline network, improving refinery efficiency etc. had been identified.
During the meeting yesterday, the two Ministers agreed that there is a need for regular meetings of officials and experts from both sides for progress in cooperation in concrete areas.
It may be noted that GAIL has contracted for import of LNG from the US to the tune of 5.8 MMT per year from end 2017. Indian companies have also invested in shale oil and gas projects in the US, i.e. GAIL has 20% equity in Eagle Ford basin; IOC and OIL have 10% equity in Niobrara basin).
A statement of the petroleum ministry said that the two sides fondly remembered the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during June 2016, when all issues of importance including energy cooperation were discussed.
During the visit, an MoU for cooperation in Gas Hydrates was also renewed for another period of five years. An earlier MoU on the same issue had expired in 2013.
On the margins, Pradhan also received US Special Envoy & Coordinator for International Energy Affairs Mr.Amos Hochstein. He also addressed a gathering of business leaders, energy experts and senior US Government officials organised by Mr Daniel Yergin, Vice President of IHS.