India needs market-based energy pricing to meet vast needs: PM

With India expected to become world's third largest energy consumer in seven years, prime

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minister Manmohan Singh today said market-based pricing and technology are essential for meeting the nation's needs in this regard.

Speaking at the 8th Asia Gas Partnership Summit here, he said India, which currently is world's seventh largest energy producer, "needs to increase its energy supply by 3 to 4 times within next two decades."

"With oil and gas constituting around 41 per cent of India's primary energy consumption, India is expected to be the 3rd largest energy consumer by 2020," he said.

India is currently fourth largest energy consumer behind US, China and Japan.

To bridge the gap between supply and demand, the government is encouraging domestic and global companies to explore onshore and offshore regions, he said.

He cited the example of US shale gas revolution where technology and market-based pricing helped exploit the unconventional gas resource and turn the country into energy surplus.

"This (technology and market based pricing) is a combination that is essential to provide rapidly growing economies like ours with energy solutions commensurate with our needs," the Prime Minister said.

India is also progressively pursuing other options to achieve energy security, he said, adding one of these is the acquisition of energy assets in other countries.

India, which imports about 80 per cent of its oil needs and more than half of its natural gas requirement, has market based pricing for crude but sub-market rates for gas.

A new pricing regime is envisaged from April 1, 2014, which will nearly double rates to USD 8.2 to 8.4 per million British thermal unit though still lower than market price.

"I take this opportunity to assure investors of the Government's commitment to providing a stable and enabling environment for exploration of new sources of energy," Singh said.

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