New Delhi :India is looking at raising crude oil imports from Africa as part of efforts to diversify sourcing of energy and reducing dependence on the Middle East, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said today.
India imports nearly 80 per cent of its oil needs. Nearly two-third of this volume traditionally was supplied by exporters in the Middle-East led by Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait. This dependence over time has been brought down.
The country imported 99.36 million tons of crude oil in April-September this fiscal, 57 per cent of which came from the Middle-East region.
“We imported 32 million ton of crude in 2014 from Africa, including 3 million tons from North Africa and 29 million tons from West Africa, mainly from Nigeria and Angola. This constitutes approximately 16 per cent of our consumption. This is going to increase in the coming years,” Pradhan said.
Speaking at the inaugural session of the 4th India-Africa Hydrocarbons Conference, he said over the past two decades, the African hydrocarbon sector has been expanding rapidly as also the interests of Indian oil companies in the continent.
“As a matter of policy, the present Indian government is keen to move towards a geographically diversified energy basket. This has resulted in India’s greater focus on Africa as a vital region for sourcing petroleum products in coming years,” he said.
Crude import from Africa has played an important role in India’s energy security.
Of the 99.36 million tons of crude oil India imported in April-September this fiscal, Africa supplied a third of it while South America accounted for a little less than 16 per cent.
At 11.59 million tons, Nigeria is the third largest supplier of crude oil to India in April-September, behind Saudi Arabia (19.56 million tons) and Iraq (17.01 million tons).
Pradhan said India’s scarcity of domestic energy resources can be offset by Africa’s surplus energy reserves – which accounts for about 15 per cent of current proved accessible global oil reserves.
“Over the past two decades, the African hydrocarbon sector has seen rapid growth. The new discoveries in Africa have seen oil reserves grow by over 100 per cent and gas reserves grow by over 55 per cent. We believe that this will greatly improve Africa’s position as an exporter of not only oil but also gas,” he said.
India has emerged as the fastest growing major economy in the world with over 7 per cent GDP growth, he said, adding that the country’s energy consumption has been constantly increasing.
The Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of Indian primary energy consumption in the last 15 years has been about 7.3 per cent as compared to a global CAGR of 3 per cent. “I expect energy demand to go up further,” he said.