New Ministerial Panel Mulls Multiple Ways To Cut Oil Imports

New Ministerial Panel Mulls Multiple Ways To Cut Oil Imports

Set with a steep target to cut India’s oil imports by 10 per cent by 2022, the Oil Ministry has formed an inter-ministry monitoring and advisory body to achieve the mark through a combination of raising domestic output and relying on alternate fuel sources.

The first meeting of the newly formed Integrated Monitoring and Advisory Council (IMAC) was held yesterday wherein the progress on import reduction of oil and gas was reviewed, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said today.

“Increased domestic production, promotion of biofuels, renewable energy, better roads, urban planning, fuel conservation, development of mini-grids, promotion of electrical vehicles put together will contribute in the process” of achieving the import reduction target, he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in March 2015 set a target to cut India’s reliance on imports for meeting its oil needs by 10 per cent to 67 per cent by 2022.

“Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas prepared an elaborate roadmap to achieve the goal of 10 per cent reduction in import dependency set by the Prime Minister during Urja Sangam,” an official statement said.

IMAC was envisaged to facilitate better coordination and comprehensive strategy for all energy resources by focusing on supply and demand side management.

It consists of Secretary, Petroleum and Natural Gas and officers from ministries of new and renewable energy, urban development, road and transport, agriculture, power, rural development and finance.

During the meeting chaired by Pradhan, “the Ministry highlighted major policy initiatives taken in recent past to enhance domestic production of oil and gas,” the statement said.

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These included measures like resource re-assessment, National Data Repository (NDR), Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP), Hydrocarbon Exploration Licensing Policy (HELP), Discovered Small Field Policy, tapping unconventional sources such as Coal Bed Methane (CBM) and Shale Gas besides enhancing production of bio-diesel and increased use of PNG and LPG.

Officials of other ministries also explained policies, schemes and projects taken towards augmenting the supply of energy, energy saving and demand substitution/reduction through alternate modes.

While the Ministry of Road, Transport and Highway highlighted measures such as e-tolling to cut waiting time at toll plazas and notification of fuel efficiency norms for LCV, Ministry of Rural Development stressed upon their bio-fuel scheme for rural sector.

Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) pointed out measures for industrial and transport sectors. MNRE elaborated on energy generation through renewable sources such as solar and wind power and their future strategy in this regard.

Pradhan stressed on the importance of concerted and coordinated efforts by all ministries to create an enabling environment for accelerated exploration and production activities.

Highlighting other measures like promoting conservation and energy efficiency, exploring opportunities for oil demand substitution and tapping the potential of bio-fuels, he said that these are required to be perused in more aggressive and synchronised manner.

Energy consuming ministries and the ones involved in technology need to be brought under the ambit of IMAC, he added.

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