Centre to power economy through gas-based energy: Pradhan

New Delhi, Nov 10 (IANS) The government on Thursday said it intends to power the economy through natural gas-based energy supply.

“One of the primary targets of the government is to direct the economy on natural gas-based energy supply,” Minister of State (independent charge) for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan said here speaking at the Economic Editors’ Conference 2016.

“Energy security is crucial for India’s continued economic growth; we are making all attempts to secure this under the guidance of Hon’ble Prime Minister,” the minister emphasised.

Pradhan told the conference that 34 cabinet decisions have been taken on the petroleum sector in the last two and a half years.

He called the last six months as “Golden Period” for India’s overseas endeavors in the oil sector.

“BPRL, ONGC Videsh, Indian Oil, Oil India, HPCL have led us to an overall acquisition of overseas assets of 15.18 MMTOE (million metric tonnes of oil equivalent),” he said.

On import dependency, the minister said the government has a road map for reducing it in the next five years.

“We have a target of reducing around 10 per cent of (oil) import dependency by 2022. We have a concrete road map for it,” Pradhan said.

The country imported 202 mmt (million metric tonnes) of crude oil worth $64 billion during 2015-16.

Pradhan told the conference that the central government aims to expand refining capacity, and is working towards setting up “West Coast Mega Refinery” with the support of state government.

The minister predicted that India will be the highest consumer of energy in the world in the coming 25 years.

“We are a low per capita consumer of energy in the world today. Till 2040, most energy consumption in the world will happen in India,” he said.

On subsidies, the minister said the government has streamlined disbursal of subsidies and ensured that these reach the “most deserving, through the use of technology”.