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India's oil demand to jump 40% in next 10 years: PM

New Delhi: Projecting a growth of 40% in India's oil demand in next decade, prime minister Manmohan Singh today stressed on securing energy supplies at affordable prices to meet requirement of rapidly expanding economy, reports PTI.

"India needs adequate supplies of energy at affordable prices to meet the demand of its rapidly growing economy," he said inaugurating the Petrotech-2010 oil and gas conference here.

India, which consumed over 138 million tonnes of fuel in 2009-10, imports three-fourth of its oil needs and one-third of its gas requirement. It imported $79.5 billion worth of 159.2 million tonnes of crude oil.

"Demand over the next 10 years will increase by over 40%, whereas the increase in supply from the maturing (domestic) oilfields is expected to be around 12%," he said.

Domestic sources are inadequate to meet the increasing demand for energy. The nation's domestic oil production was about 34 million tonnes in the last fiscal.

To bridge the shortfall, the government is encouraging national oil companies to acquire oil and gas fields abroad, Mr Singh said.

The prime minister stressed on building strong economic partnership with hydrocarbon-rich countries.

Mr Singh said oil and gas today are not seen as mere commodities to be traded freely. "They are often used by countries to meet their political objectives."

In the last two decades, Asia's share in the growth in demand for hydrocarbons has risen substantially while that of the OECD countries and the European Union has declined. "This shift has been caused by high rates of economic growth and increasing populations in many Asian countries."

"There are supply-side uncertainties. Many mature fields are declining in production. Some energy endowed countries have problems in augmenting production because of various reasons including lack of the required technology and political uncertainty," Mr Singh said.

Another challenge, he said, is climate change. "Because of this challenge, the demand on energy technologies goes beyond productivity and efficiency issues," he said, calling for a rethink on the traditional energy basket being loaded in favour of fossil fuels.

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