‘Focus on E&P, ethanol-blended fuel to become self-reliant country’

Kolkata, Sep 23 (PTI):
Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri has said the Centre is focusing on exploration and production of oil and natural gas to make India a self-reliant country in energy requirement, and the work on meeting the target of 20 per cent ethanol blending in petrol by 2025 is on track. Puri, the minister for petroleum and natural gas, said nine per cent ethanol blending in fuel has already been achieved.
“Exploration and production of natural gas is the top priority for the government to attract foreign and domestic investment and enhance output,” he said. Augmenting ethanol blending in fuel is critical for the energy security of the country, the minister said. India imports almost 85 per cent of its liquid hydrocarbon requirement and spends over Rs 12 lakh crore. The Centre is targeting to have 20 per cent ethanol-blended fuel by 2025. Earlier, it had planned to achieve the goal by 2030. Allaying fears of large scale farming of the bio-fuel raw material impacting food security, Puri said, “We are looking at agricultural waste and even bamboo in the north-east region for ethanol. So, this should not be a problem.” He was speaking at an interactive session organised by Indian Chamber of Commerce in association with Young Leaders Forum here on Wednesday evening. Asked what exactly the government is doing to ramp up exploration and production (E&P) activities, the minister said, “We are doing (something)… but this is not a forum to make announcements.”
India has 26 sedimentary basins covering an area of 3.14 million square kilometres. Only six of these are under commercial exploitation but are sub-optimally utilised, according to a policy observer. The national investment promotion and facilitation agency estimated that USD 58 billion would be invested in the E&P sector by 2023, and USD 60 billion in natural gas infrastructure by 2024.

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