Strategic Energy Partnership has emerged as a cornerstone of expanding the US-India ties as the bilateral hydrocarbon trade has increased by 93 percent in the last two years, a top official has said.
India’s Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu, in an op-ed in The Houston Chronicle, wrote that numbers speak for themselves.
There has been an increase of 93 per cent in the hydrocarbon trade between India and the United States in the last two years; it has reached USD 9.2 billion in 2019, he said.
India is now the fourth largest international market for the US crude oil and the fifth largest for the US liquefied natural gas. Indian firms have concluded several contracts for sourcing crude from the United States and are expanding their investments in the US energy sector, creating jobs and economic opportunities, he said.
“Announced during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the United States in June 2017 - and its intensity enhanced when Modi visited Houston in September 2019 - the Strategic Energy Partnership has emerged as a cornerstone of expanding India-US ties.
“In an uncertain world, the key to effective partnerships between nations is reliability, trust and long-term commitment. The India-US strategic energy partnership touches all three aspects. The pandemic has only reminded us of the need for more focused and expeditious action to galvanise economic growth through mutually beneficial collaborations,” Sandhu wrote.
While crude oil and liquified natural gas transactions have been impressive, Sandhu said, these comprise only one of the four pillars of the US-India energy cooperation.
The other pillars - power and energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainable growth - are equally critical, he wrote.
“Underlying all of these is innovation. Indian and the US entities are also working together to advance cooperation in the civil nuclear energy,” he said.
Noting that cooperation with the United States in the natural gas sector is a priority for India, he said as India evolves into an increasingly gas-based economy, natural gas infrastructure - pipeline networks, city gas distribution grids and LNG terminals - is being ramped up across the country.
Significant opportunities exist for the US companies in LNG bunkering, container development, petrochemicals and bio-fuels, according to the Indian envoy.
India is primed for investment of USD 118 billion in oil and gas exploration, and natural gas infrastructure, including urban consumer gas distribution networks over the coming five years. For the US investors and energy companies with their global footprint, India is the new frontier, he said.
“As India builds its strategic petroleum reserves at home, India is also looking to lease crude storage capacities in the United States. An agreement for cooperation in this area was signed in July 2020,” Sandhu added.