21/10/2017 AIR Spotlight, GS Paper 3, Security 0 comment

India’s Energy Security | All India Radio Debate Summary

India’s Energy Security scenario debate was held on All India Radio Spotlight. Detailed Summary and important points from the debate.

For sustained growth of economy and human development in a society, smooth and uninterrupted flow of energy is must. It is what India wants in its quest for energy security.

India’s energy basket –

  • To feed the engines of growth and uplift millions of its people from poverty, India has structured a mixed energy basket comprising hydrocarbon, coal, wind, solar, nuclear and hydroelectric.
  • Coal constitutes more than 56 percent of the total energy basket, while oil and gas account for 36.5 percent, hydroelectricity more than 4 percent, nuclear energy over 1 percent and renewal power over 2 percent.
  • The size of the energy basket is increasing with the passage of time. Over the next 25 years, it is expected to more than double. This claim is supported by the International Energy Outlook 2017 of the US Energy Information Administration. As per the outlook, most of the world’s energy growth will occur in countries like India which account for more than half of the world’s total increase in energy consumption over the 2015 to 2040 projection period.

Energy dependency –

  • Home to 18 percent of the world’s population, India is currently the third largest consumer of energy after the US and China.
  • Since it is not self-sufficient in terms of energy resources, it has to import coal, oil, gas and nuclear material from foreign countries to meet its growing energy demand.
  • It has to import a sizeable amount of coal from foreign countries, despite being third-biggest producer of coal in the world.
  • Similarly, India is home to only 0.3 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves, forcing it to import 80 percent of crude from abroad to meet the consumption.
  • It has 0.8 percent of the world’s proven natural gas, yet it accounts for 1.5 percent of the worldwide gas consumption, thereby, leading to India importing nearly 40 percent of natural gas last year.
  • On the other hand, after signing the civil nuclear deal with the US in 2008, India has over the eight years imported 5,559 metric tons of uranium. Presently India generates about 6,800 Mega Watt of nuclear energy.

Energy Security –

With India deciding to reduce its carbon foot print, the country is investing money and time in expanding the base of renewable energy.

  • In 2016, India invested Rs. 65 billion on enhancing its renewable energy capacity. By the end of 2022, India has an ambitious target of setting up 175 Gigawatt of renewable power capacity. This includes 60 GW from wind, 100 GW from solar, 10 GW from biomass and 5 GW from small hydro power stations.
  • Despite this, it is hydrocarbon sector that plays a pivotal role in the economic growth of the country. In this regard, acquisition of oil and gas assets in foreign countries by Indian oil companies assumes high significance. While the country’s leading public sector oil and gas company, Oil and Natural Gas Company (ONGC) has investments in oil and gas blocks of 17 countries, Oil India Limited (OIL), another public sector company has a presence in the hydrocarbon sector of 10 countries.
  • But most of these Indian assets are in countries outside Middle-East. Continued political instability in the region is cited as the key reason for non-significant presence of India in oil and gas blocks there. Nonetheless, the region is a major source of hydrocarbon imports for India. In the fiscal 2015-16, over 59 percent oil and gas were imported from Middle-East. Saudi Arabia remains the main supplier of crude oil to India. However, Africa has gradually become the second largest source of crude supplies to India in the recent past.

Conclusion –

Over the years, in its tryst for energy security and competitiveness in hydrocarbon resources’ pricing, India has maintained flexibility and dynamism. Recently, history was created when New Delhi imported tons of Shale oil from the US. This happened at a time when members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) cut oil production in their bid to jack up petroleum prices. This was done by India to send across a message that New Delhi has other options in keeping with its smart and effective energy security strategy.

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