New Delhi: The Commerce and Industry Ministry has given permission to set up 16 bio gas-based and three coal-bed methane-based natural gas filling plants to encourage use of alternative fuel in the country.
Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also said that Petroleum and Explosive Safety Organisation (PESO), which is under the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), is closely associated with the developmental activities for introduction of hydrogen as an alternative fuel.
She said that PESO has granted permission to Indian Oil Corporation to set up hydrogen manufacturing and dispensing facilities in their R&D centre at Faridabad, and to University of Petroleum and Energy Studies at Gurgaon for establishment and development of hydrogen production and dispensing facilities.
"Further, 16 biogas-based and three coal-bed methane-based natural gas filling plants are to be established sooner. PESO has already given permission for these," she said at the 'Urja Sangam' here.
The minister also said that promotion of energy efficient technologies would help India reduce its high import bill.
"Many of such technologies could help energy intensity of India's GDP growth by up to one per cent per year," she said.
Sitharaman said that huge oil and gas reserves are present in the country and "if we can tap that, it will be possible to produce more than 20 million cubic meters a day of natural gas by 2025".
She said that despite being a net crude oil importer, India has also become a net exporter of petroleum products by investing in refineries designed for exports.
"There is a big opportunity for India as demand for primary energy in India is likely to increase three-fold by 2035 to 1,500 million tonnes of oil equivalent from 563 million tonnes of oil equivalent in 2012," she said.
"So 60 per cent of the prognosticated reserves of 20,000 MMT are yet to be harnessed in this country. Oil and gas contribute about 39.2 per cent of the primary energy consumption," the minister said.
Further, she said that investments worth USD 70 billion are expected in the oil and natural gas sector in the current 12th five year plan.
To ensure energy security, she said strategic storage of crude oil and LPG is very important and would serve as a cushion in response to the external supply disruptions.
Government has set up a total storage of about 5.33 MMT crude oil at three locations including Visakhapatnam and Mangalore.
On exploration, she said the Commerce and Industry Ministry is looking at various options to help Indian investors and companies go abroad in search of good prospective assets.