India’s energy demand is poised to bounce back as Asia’s third-largest economy reopens for business, oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan said.
The country’s consumption of petrol, gas oil and cooking gas in October “exceeded the figures of last year”, said Mr Pradhan during the online Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference on Monday.
“India’s energy sector has shown remarkable resilience and our energy demand has almost recovered back to the pre-Covid levels, particularly for petroleum products, due to [the] rejuvenation of economic activities.”
He said the country expects the recovery in demand for energy to be sustained in the coming months.
India had one of the strictest coronavirus lockdowns and is reopening its economy gradually despite an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases.
The country has allowed most businesses to resume operations as it looks to spur economic activity.
Mr Pradhan also said India will be a key driver of global energy demand in the coming decades “as its share in global consumption is set to rise from 6 per cent in 2018 to 12 per cent in 2050”.
“It will experience the fastest growth in energy consumption among all large economies,” he said.
India is the currently third biggest consumer of oil in the world, after the US and China.
Mr Pradhan said the government had also taken a series of policy decisions to make India's energy sector an attractive investment destination.
“There are tremendous opportunities in the energy sector in India. India now allows 100 per cent foreign direct investment in exploration and production," he said.
"We have created a friendly tax regime for sovereign wealth and pension funds. These reforms are translating into increased FDI growth in the sector.”
India is pivoting towards cleaner energy sources and intends to generate 450 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2030 and use emerging fuels such as hydrogen.
“Our energy sector will be growth-centric, industry-friendly and environment-conscious,” he said.
It is also inviting global companies to invest in its strategic petroleum reserves.