India, China, Japan and Korea have agreed to expand cooperation in the energy sector in view of their increased consumption of hydrocarbons, primarily in business to business segment, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Thursday.
Cooperation among oil-consuming nations is warranted in view of oil-producing countries charging Asian premium from India, China and others for supplying petroleum, Pradhan said while addressing the concluding conference of the International Energy Forum (IEF).
More cooperation is expected to deal with the Asian premium issue, he said, adding that the responsibility had been assigned to IOC Chairman Sanjiv Singh and from China side, Chairman of China National Petroleum Corporation will work on the issue.
"In some areas both of us (India and China) are working together. In some parts of Africa, CNPC and OVL (ONGC Videsh Ltd) are natural partners," he said.
The two nations can work together in the energy sector as consumer as well as energy producer, said Li Fanrong, Deputy Administrator, National Energy Administration, China said.
Asked about reported government direction to oil marketing companies for not hiking fuel prices, Pradhan said, there is no such direction.
On Wednesday, Saudi Aramco, the world's largest oil producer, entered into an agreement to pick up 50 per cent stake in a planned $44-billion refinery-cum-petrochemical project in Maharashtra. On Shiv Sena's opposition to the deal, the minister said the deal was in favour of the people of Maharashtra as the investment would boost the state's economy, job creation and industrialisation.
Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, speaking at the event, said India had deployed $8 billion on gas infrastructure across the country and share of natural gas in the energy mix will increase from 6.5 per cent now to 15 per cent by 2020. She then said LPG penetration in the country had increased from 66 per cent in 2014 to 80 per cent in 2018.
This time, over 1,300 representatives took part in the IEF and 53 representatives from different countries attended the forum. At least 38 ministers marked their presence. The next IEF will be held in China.
Currently, India’s per capita consumption is about one tenth of the developing nations.