India is unlikely to see demand for oil peaking before 2040 and other forms of energy will slowly and gradually find a place in the country's energy mix, the head of the nation's third-largest state fuel retailer said on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday made a bold pledge to cutting emissions at the world's third-biggest emitter to net-zero by 2070.
Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) chairman and managing director M K Surana said oil companies had been consciously making investments in alternate and cleaner energy sources such as setting up EV charging stations, biofuels and hydrogen plants.
These investments are in the direction of achieving the net-zero target, he said.
But the world's third-largest oil-importing and consuming nation will continue to rely on oil for the next two decades.
"For net-zero target by 2070, we need to move to different forms of energy," he said. But "based on current assessment, peak oil may not be before 2040. Other forms of energy will slowly and gradually find their place and meet incremental demand."
The country's reliance on oil for meeting its energy needs will stay as almost all of its road, rail, air and sea transport happens on fuel produced from oil. And their requirement is only growing as the economy expands, generating more economic activity and increasing people's mobility.
Surana said oil companies are switching to using green energy such as one generated from solar, for meeting electricity needs at refineries and other installations.
This clean energy will be used to produce petrol and diesel and it does not take away the demand for auto fuel, he said.
Similarly, hydrogen will be used to produce petrol and diesel.
"We have to find newer ways of producing oil energy," he said. "We need to provide the energy as required by the country keeping the costs and economics in mind. We can't afford any disruption that was witnessed in recent weeks which led to shooting up of global energy prices."
While nations like the UK witnessed petrol pumps running out of fuel, India saw retail rates going up in step with global prices but there was no supply constraint anywhere in the country.
Surana said crude oil prices may hover around USD 80-85 per barrel in the October-December quarter.
On Monday, Modi raised the 2030 target for renewable energy capacity to 500 GW from 450 GW and pledged to produce half the country's electricity using renewable energy. India will also cut carbon-dioxide emissions by 1 billion tons from business as usual by the end of the decade.