India-Africa collaboration in energy critical, says Pradhan

New Delhi, Jan 21 (IANS) With the global economic situation currently at a critical phase, it is imperative that India and Africa forge deeper collaboration, particularly in the energy field, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Thursday.

“The global situation makes our collaboration more critical. The fourth India-Africa Hydrocarbons Conference looks to align and initiate future collaborations between India and Africa in hydrocarbons,” Pradhan said inaugurating the two-day conference here.

As many as 25 African nations have been invited for the conference. Nine of them are represented by their ministers, who were present on the dais.

Informing the audience that India is importing around 18-20 percent of its oil needs from Africa at 32 million tonnes last year, Pradhan said: “African energy helps power the Indian economy.”

“India is keen to diversify its energy sources,” the minister said, adding that this was vital for the energy security of the country that imports nearly 80 percent of its oil requirements.

Crude accounts for two-thirds of total imports from Africa while petroleum products account for a third of India’s exports to Africa.

“The compound annual growth rate of India’s hydrocarbons’ consumption has been at 7 percent, while the world average is on this count is only at 3 percent,” Pradhan said, underlining the country’s growing demand for oil and gas.

He said Indian state-run enterprises have invested in acquiring hydrocarbon assets in Africa in countries like Sudan, South Sudan, Mozambique, Gabon and Egypt.

Earlier, Petroleum Secretary K.D. Tripathi, addressing the conference, said the current continuing slump in global oil prices is an “opportune time” for forging partnerships between importers and exporters from India and Africa.

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