New Delhi: Union Minister of State(IC) for Coal, Power and New and Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal has said that the government is willing to consider long-term, fixed price contracts for the supply of gas, which will enable power producers to enter into a supply contract at an affordable price. Goyal was addressing a roundtable in Brisbane, Australia, today on the business opportunities for LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) and Coal Bed Methane. He is leading a delegation for the 3rd India-Australia Energy Security dialogue in Australia.
The minister further stated that, additionally, opportunities to control the entire value chain right from gas production, liquefaction, shipping, re-gasification and power generation can be evaluated at the current historic low prices of many of these activities.
Goyal highlighted the fact that India was running one of the largest renewable energy programmes in the world, which aims to increase the capacity 5 times to 175 GW over the next 7 years. This will require gas-based plants that can act as spinning reserves and supply power during deficit times of the day (like evenings) when renewable energy production reduces while stabilizing the grid. He also argued that since coal-based power is available in India at less than 5 cents per unit, the LNG providers should consider supplying gas to India at a price that is comparable.
Pointing out that India is the fourth largest energy consumer in the world, executive director of GAIL AK Jana stated that India had also developed sufficient infrastructure in pipeline transportation, regasification facilities as well as end consumers facilities such as gas-based power plants. These facilities enable the consumption of around 300 MMSCMD, whereas the present consumption is less than 50% of the same. This provides good opportunities to countries which have a surplus of natural gas provided it is available at affordable prices.
In order to explore the opportunities to affordably supply Australian LNG to India, an LNG sub-group has been created under the joint leadership of a joint secretary with the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and a senior Australian official. They will be further supported by an operating team as well as representatives from NTPC, GAIL, Petronet LNG and shipping companies. The sub-group will create a roadmap for the collaboration over the next 2 months.
The Australian companies highlighted how technologies have been used to reduce the cost of producing natural gas and clear shipping routes between Australia and India provided ample opportunities to provide LNG to India at competitive rates. Additionally, with a substantial increase in coal exploration and production in India, Australian companies can provide Coal Bed Methane (CBM) technologies to India.
With Australian collaboration, India aims to meet its objective to providing affordable and clean energy for all. The collaboration on LNG and CBM is a big outcome focused step towards achieving this objective.
Featured image: Piyush Goyal at UNSW, Sydney's Centre for Photovoltaic excellence