“Energy transition is important, but not over affordability”, says Minister Hardeep Singh Puri

New Delhi: In a keynote address at the India Energy Week Conference in Goa, Petroleum Minister Hardeep Singh Puri emphasized the need for an orderly energy transition in India, balancing access to traditional fuels with a systematic shift towards cleaner energy sources.

Rejecting the vilification of fossil fuels, Puri stressed the importance of maintaining energy affordability while advancing sustainability goals.

According to S&P Global Commodity Insights, Puri highlighted the challenge of ensuring a smooth transition to renewable energy without compromising access to traditional fuel sources.

“The challenge is to make sure transition is done in an orderly manner so that we have access to traditional fuel and making predictable transition to cleaner fuel. Balanced and realistic dialogue is needed and not vilification of fossil fuel,” he stated, underlining the importance of affordability in India’s energy landscape.

The International Energy Agency’s recent report predicts significant expansion in India’s role in global oil markets over the coming decade, driven by economic growth, population dynamics, and demographic shifts.

Puri said, “Energy transition is important, but not over affordability. And energy sustainability comes after that,” he added.

Puri underscored the importance of recent energy sector reforms in India, which have helped stabilize petrol and diesel prices domestically, even amidst global fluctuations.

Leading Indian CEOs echoed Puri’s sentiments, emphasizing the need for a diverse energy mix and public-private partnerships to address India’s future energy needs.

Vartika Shukla, Chairperson and Managing Director of Engineers India Ltd., stressed the importance of considering price points and leveraging partnerships to facilitate energy growth.

“We need to grow all kinds of energies for the needs of India tomorrow. We need to look at the price point of these energies, where the public private partnership can play a very important role,” said Shukla.

Arun Kumar Singh, Chairman of India’s ONGC Ltd., highlighted the necessity of balancing conventional energy with renewables to meet India’s evolving demands.

Singh said, “As a national energy company in India, ONGC has to briskly walk both the ways, conventional and renewables.”

However, concerns were raised regarding potential policy backlashes and the necessity of continued investment in fossil fuel production.

Haitham al-Ghais, Secretary-General of OPEC, emphasized the importance of multiple pathways in energy transition and the continued need for investment in fossil fuels to meet growing demand.

Ghais said, “This is how we should look at energy transition. At OPEC we continue to invest, and we need hundreds of billions of investments over the next 20 years. We need to invest as demand is likely to continue to grow.”

Similarly, Qatar’s Energy Minister Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi cautioned against dismissing fossil fuels entirely, noting their ongoing importance in meeting global energy needs.

Kaabi said, “Renewable sources of energy do not completely solve the global energy needs. “It is not responsible to say we do not use fossil fuel. It is like humanity shooting itself in the foot”.

In a different perspective, Vickram Bharrat, Guyana’s Minister of Natural Resources, highlighted the hydrocarbon discoveries offshore Guyana as a pathway to prosperity.

Bharrat said, “The new hydrocarbon find offshore Guyana has made the world notice us. Our policy is very simple. Get hydrocarbons out of the ground as fast as possible and use that to build traditional sectors. The window on oil is closing, not so much for gas.”

He emphasized the country’s commitment to responsible and sustainable hydrocarbon development, foreseeing significant oil production growth in the coming years.

As discussions around energy transition continue, the conference provided a platform for global stakeholders to address the complexities of balancing traditional and renewable energy sources while ensuring affordability, sustainability, and continued investment in the energy sector.




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