Shale Gas policy by month end: Petroleum Secretary

Last Updated: Tue, Dec 11, 2012 11:41 hrs

India will come up with its long pending shale gas policy later this month, the Secretary of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Mr. G. C. Chaturvedi said here today.

Addressing the 11th Petro India, organised by Observer Research Foundation and India Energy Forum, Mr. Chaturvedi said the government would finalise the shale gas policy "before the year is over", adding he was aware that already 11 days have passed in the last month of the year.

The secretary impressed upon the need for encouraging cross border investment to boost regional energy market.

Touching upon the government's move to introduce cash transfer to beneficiaries directly, the Secretary admitted that "it is a very, very difficult task" especially because of the low penetration of 'Aadhar (UID) programme' on which cash transfer is based.

Former Union Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar said that India's shale gas policy is lying ready since 2009, but the government is not keen to implement it.

Aiyar stressed on the need for synergy between the foreign policy and the energy policy to ensure energy security to the country as the region as a whole.

He blamed the foreign policy of the government for failing to achieve success in both the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline and Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline. He said the foreign policy affected India's energy policy.

Aiyar mooted the idea of Asian Gas Network. He also mooted the idea of Asian Oil and Gas Union, based on the model of European network which resulted in the formation of European Union.

The former minister said there is a need for total rethinking of India's energy and foreign policies to ensure energy security in the country.

Pakistan's former Federal Minister for Petroleum, Mr. Usman Aminuddin, said if he and Mr. Aiyar were ministers during the same time, they would have finalised IPI and other projects.

Stressing on the need for SAARC regional cooperation on the energy front which can secure energy for the whole region, Mr. Aminuddin said India and Pakistan should lead the countries which would follow them.

Delivering the theme address, Mr. Sunjoy Joshi, Director, Observer Research Foundation, pointed out that there is a huge unmet gas demand across the region, and not just India, resulting from poor infrastructure and severely restrictive markets. Both impacted the region's ability to either produce its own gas or import gas.

He said China perhaps was the only country which during the past year has been aggressively trying to align domestic prices with the market.

Mr. Joshi said if we strived to build strong regional markets that can source fuels competitively the need will be for greater regional integration. "If achieved, given the rise of Asia, this integration can have far reaching consequences across the world," he said.

"Given the right vision, and the capacity to learn from each other's experiences and mistakes, the coming years can see very different regional alignments as priorities are re-defined and Asian neighbours increasingly deal and transact with each other as they strive toward the common goal of building more mature regional markets," Joshi said.

This year's Petro India was themed on "Regional Cooperation for Accessing and Developing Hydrocarbon Resources" and had sessions on "Cross border energy trade", "Hard infrastructure - bridging the gap", "Soft infrastructure - bridging the gap" and "Cross country hydro-carbon investments". (ANI)

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