US-India join hands in exploring petroleum and energy sector

Cleveland (US): The United States and India have agreed to take several key steps in petroleum and energy sector, aimed towards achieving the ambitious goal of energy independence.

The key prospects include development of petroleum storage, which is considered crucial for national security and strategic needs, increase technical co-operation in new technologies in development of bio fuel (2nd generation ethanol and bio-diesel) and assessment and reassessment of conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon reserves in India, both onshore and offshore.

The decision was taken during a meeting between the Union Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan and his American counterpart, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, on Monday.

Pradhan left for India yesterday after visiting Houston and Washington DC.

The Minister also met US Special Envoy & Coordinator for International Energy Affairs Amos Hochstein, during which they discussed the continued bi-lateral cooperation in the energy sector.

India-US bilateral energy cooperation had started in the form of energy dialogue in 2005 under which oil and gas is also discussed.

Over 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.

Pradhan and Moniz agreed there is a need for regular meetings of officials and experts from both sides for progress in cooperation in concrete areas, a media release said.

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 per cent equity in Eagle Ford basin; IOC and OIL have 10 per cent equity in Niobrara basin.

The two sides also signed an MoU to renew cooperation in Gas Hydrates for another period of five years.

An earlier MoU on the same issue had expired in 2013.

The Minister also addressed a gathering of business leaders, energy experts and senior US Government officials organized by Dr Daniel Yergin, Vice President of IHS.

The business interactions elicited positive reviews from entities with investments in India, who acknowledged a tangible improvement in the business environment.

Senior US administration officials acknowledged a major positive shift in the trajectory of US-India relations and committed to explore new opportunities for co-operation.