Sushma Ramchandran

It is looking at Central Asia: Anand Sharma

NEW DELHI: India is seeking oil and gas assets abroad to meet the energy needs of a rapidly expanding economy. Among the areas where it is looking for such assets in terms of equity participation as well as production and exploration contracts are Central Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Oil scenario grim

Stating this here on Thursday, Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma said the country's self-sufficiency in oil had fallen from 63 per cent in 1989-90 to 30 per cent in 2000-1. Addressing TERI's sixth oil and gas conference, he said: "The situation is only likely to get worse in the future."

To meet the growing demand for energy, he said talks were under way to acquire oil assets in Bangladesh, Brazil, Cuba, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Myanmar, Sierra Leone, Uzbekistan, Venezuela and Yemen. He said already Indian oil companies had committed over $4.5 billion in 14 countries for this purpose.

As for domestic output, he said it was likely to rise from 26 million tonnes to 52 million tonnes in 2011-12 and to 80 million tonnes in 2024-25. At the same time, the country's demand for oil was expected to increase from 122 million tonnes to 196 million tonnes in 2011-12, and 364 million tonnes in 2024-25. By 2024-25, he said crude oil self-sufficiency would be a mere 15 per cent.

Gas availability

Similarly, he said natural gas availability is much lower than the demand. To meet the country's needs, he said efforts were being made to pursue gas pipeline project both on the eastern and western land frontiers. In the case of the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline, he said the gas would be used for power and fertilizer projects in northern India. The proposed Myanmar-Bangladesh-India pipeline will not only bring gas but may also carry Tripura gas to the rest of the country and gas from Bangladesh gas from the eastern to western regions of that country.