Interview: Gurmeet Singh

Director General at Federation of Indian Petroleum Industry (FIPI)

India Energy Week is a preeminent platform for the global energy ecosystem

February 08, 2024. By News Bureau

India Energy Week is a preeminent platform for the global energy ecosystem to explore opportunities in the fastest-growing energy market in the world, says Gurmeet Singh, Director General, Federation of Indian Petroleum Industry (FIPI) in an interview with Anurima Mondal, Associate Editor, Energetica India.

Que: How does FIPI contribute to making the oil and gas industry globally competitive in India?

Ans: The Federation of Indian Petroleum Industry (FIPI) is an apex society of entities in the hydrocarbon sector and acts as an industry interface with government and regulatory authorities.

FIPI is the foremost voice of the Indian hydrocarbon industry enabling its sustained growth and global competitiveness.

To foster global competitiveness in India’s Oil & Gas sector, FIPI actively promotes collaborative research and technology adoption through a vibrant, adaptive and trustworthy team of professionals.

These activities are further augmented by FIPI’s role in policy recommendations to the government and the industry, and by propagating our findings through seminars and conferences. We also work towards the resolution of issues among stakeholders.

Among the latest examples, FIPI has coordinated for study of the Indian E&P sector for enhancing E&P activities among the international operators/investors. The report highlights the key issues that need attention and outlines investors' expectations regarding investment opportunities in India's E&P sector.

Additionally, we are also carrying out a study on the Role of CCUS in India’s Energy Sector’ with the objective of assessing the role and importance of CCUS, technology trends, cost pathways, market potential, carbon pricing and interventions required for a robust CCUS environment applicable in India’s energy sector.

Que: What are the current challenges faced by the hydrocarbon sector in India, and how is FIPI addressing them?

Ans: With India’s oil needs projected to grow at a rate of 2.92 percent, from currently 5.3 mb/d in CY 2022 to 6.3 mb/d in CY 2028 led by growing industrial and economic base as well as rising urbanization, the future is indeed exciting and full of promise for the oil and gas industry in India.

The pre-eminent challenge before the industry is to do with energy transition and decarbonisation. The industry has put all eyes on finding a new balance between energy security, affordability and sustainability.

From deploying green hydrogen in hard-to-abate sectors and researching breakthroughs to make future solutions like carbon capture more affordable for a wide range of applications, to investment opportunities in biofuels, EVs and measures to increase energy efficiency; these are the various pathways identified by the oil and gas industry in India in its fight against global climate change.

FIPI is thus confident that industry and government collaboration will help in attaining the common goal of environmental sustainability and ensure faster decarbonisation.

Que: Can you provide an overview of India Energy Week 2024 and its significance in the energy sector? Also, please highlight the key themes and topics that will be covered during the event.

Ans: India Energy Week is a preeminent platform for the global energy ecosystem to explore opportunities in the fastest-growing energy market in the world. It is being organized by the Federation of Indian Petroleum Industry (FIPI) and ONGC, under the aegis of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Government of India.

India Energy Week 2024 will feature ministerial, leadership and technical sessions, along with roundtables that will explore varied themes including energy transition of the global south, building a future-ready energy stack, and chartering the roadmap of alternate fuels for energy optionality. It will also delve into the impact of localization, regionalization and globalization on energy-related industrialization and manufacturing processes.

The core of the event is essentially an exhibition of India’s ongoing efforts to tackle the twin challenges of energy security and energy transition, which are widely considered a viable template for the world to follow.

Moreover, the four-day event aims to foster partnerships, drive innovation, and explore solutions that will propel India's energy sector into a sustainable and vibrant future. It also offers unmatched opportunities for meaningful discussions, knowledge exchange, and collaboration among industry experts, policymakers, academia and entrepreneurs.

Additionally, India Energy Week, 2024 has lined up an eclectic mix of 35,000+ attendees, 350+ exhibitors, 400+ speakers and 4,000+ delegates, from over 120 countries. The event will host an extensive array of exhibitors, spanning core oil field services, lending dynamism to the atmosphere.

Que: In your opinion, what are the current trends and challenges in the Indian petroleum and energy industry and how does FIPI envision addressing these challenges through the event?

Ans: The Indian petroleum industry is currently immersed in finding a new balance between energy security, affordability and sustainability. While the oil and gas sector in India continues to play a vital role in influencing decision-making for all the other important sections of the economy, the industry currently aims to achieve its long-term desire for an accelerated shift away from hydrocarbons towards low-carbon and green sources of energy.

Although the task is onerous, the industry’s dedicated focus on investment in clean energy technologies including green hydrogen, biofuels, and decarbonisation through CCUS, among other measures, has brought renewed optimism.

The India Energy Week 2024 will extensively focus on these themes, with engagement from global decision-makers and experts, who will drive the discussions and attempt to resolve challenges in the path to a more sustainable future.

Que: How can gas-hydrogen blending shape the future of green energy in India?

Ans: Blending natural gas with green hydrogen is a nascent technology that has been achieved by a select few countries including UK, Germany, and Australia and India recently through NTPC.

If it can be replicated at scale, the blending will not only reduce the hydrocarbon import bill significantly but can also bring forex ashore by being a green hydrogen and green chemicals exporter to the world.

Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB), the regulatory body has given approval for 5 percent vol./vol. the blending of green hydrogen with PNG to start with and the blending level would be scaled phase-wise to reach 20 percent. Green hydrogen when blended with natural gas reduces CO2 emissions keeping the net heating content the same.

Que: Given the growing focus on sustainability, how does FIPI incorporate discussions on environmentally friendly practices during the event?

Ans: As elaborated in earlier answers, sustainability and energy transition are the most pressing challenges before the industry. And it would be reflected prominently in the India Energy Week 2024.

For instance, of the seven broad themes of India Energy Week, three are entirely dedicated to sustainability and environment-friendly topics. These are ‘Bringing Efficiency and Decarbonisation to Traditional Energy’, ‘Advancing Net-Zero’ and ‘The Energy Quad - Security, Availability, Affordability & Sustainability.’

These themes translate into multiple conference sessions dedicated to tackling the issue of sustainability and energy transition. We kick off India Energy Week 2024 in Goa with a ministerial panel titled ‘The emerging world order - fostering new partnerships for an equitable energy transition.’

Similarly, there are sessions dedicated to renewable energy and net zero themes including ‘Can renewable energy power the world’ on the second day of the event.

I would like to take this opportunity to urge your readers to check the website for a detailed list of sessions and speakers participating at IEW 2024.

Que: What are the expected outcomes and impacts of India Energy Week on the petroleum and energy industry?

Ans: India Energy Week 2024 is following a hugely successful debut event last year. We are excited about the possibilities from the gathering of the global energy ecosystem in Goa.

The event will be bigger and better than last year and will provide the global audience a closer look at India’s successful energy transition strategies, while also offering enormous opportunities to be a part of the unfolding story.

Moreover, India’s energy ecosystem can also leverage the event to partner with the world’s best brains and bring in new technologies to the country.

As a context to readers on the achievement of IEW 2023, the attendees including ministers, CEOs and energy leaders acknowledged the resilience of India’s energy sector and its potential as an upcoming demand center. They also appreciated India’s efforts at charting a roadmap for energy transition while ensuring energy security for its people.

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