India urges investors to put money into clean and conventional energy projects

The world's third-largest oil importer aims to nearly double its refining capacity

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India aims to produce 5 million tonnes of green hydrogen annually by 2030. AP
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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called on global investors to invest in the country’s clean energy projects and oil and gas exploration efforts.

Mr Modi, who was speaking at the Indian Energy Week in technology capital Bengaluru, outlined India’s progress in biofuels, renewable energy and green hydrogen.

“India’s global oil demand could reach 11 per cent of the global share [from the current 5 per cent], creating new opportunities for investment and collaboration,” said Mr Modi.

Mr Modi’s speech comes at a time when India’s financial markets are facing a confidence crisis after the Adani Group, one of the country’s largest conglomerates, was accused of alleged financial fraud by US short-seller Hindenburg Research.

Hindenburg, which specialises in activist short-selling, made wide-ranging allegations of purported corporate malpractice, “brazen” market manipulation and accounting fraud after a two-year investigation.

The report triggered a sell-off across listed Adani companies, wiping out more than $100 billion of their market value since its publication on January 24.

India, which has boosted its imports of discounted Russian crude since the start of the Ukraine war last year, will focus on diversifying its crude supply while increasing domestic production, said Mr Modi.

“The E&P [exploration and production] sector has shown interest in areas that were considered inaccessible before.”

The world’s third-largest crude importer is currently working on increasing its refining capacity to 450 million metric tonnes per annum (mmtpa), from 250 mmtpa currently, Mr Modi said.

The country’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) importing capacity nearly doubled in 2022, from 21 mmtpa in 2014, he said.

As part of the National Green Hydrogen Mission, India aims to produce 5 million tonnes of green hydrogen annually by 2030, with the potential to reach 10 million tonnes as export markets grow.

The plan could attract investments in excess of $12.12 billion, Mr Modi said.

Hydrogen, which is produced from renewable energy and natural gas, is expected to become a critical fuel as economies and industries transition to a low-carbon world.

It comes in various forms, including blue, green and grey. Blue and grey hydrogen are produced from natural gas while green is derived from splitting water by electrolysis.

“In the next five years, India will increase the share of green hydrogen to 25 per cent, while reducing grey hydrogen usage,” said Mr Modi.

India also announced a pilot for its new ethanol blended petrol called “E20” .

The fuel will be first made available at fuel stations in 15 Indian cities before a nationwide distribution over the next two to three years, Mr Modi said.

Last year, India moved up the deadline for blending petrol with 20 per cent ethanol by five years to 2025.

“Green growth has been highlighted as one of the seven priorities for the country in the latest budget,” Hardeep Puri, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, said earlier on Monday.

“Not only have generous provisions been made for this [clean energy], but also for other related activities to cover the manufacture of catalysers and other requirements in the production of green hydrogen,” said Mr Puri.

Last week, India's Finance Minister presented the government's last full budget before the 2024 election, with a focus on growth and job creation.

Among the announcements, 350 billion rupees ($4.24 billion) of investment was earmarked for energy security.

India, which aims to become net zero by 2070, plans to produce 500 gigawatts of non-fossil fuel capacity by 2030.

Updated: February 06, 2023, 10:44 AM