Following assuming his duties as India’s new ambassador to the State of Qatar, Dr Deepak Mittal, paid a courtesy visit to the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) Secretariat and was received by the GECF Secretary General Yury Sentyurin. The Ambassador was accompanied by T. Angeline Premalath, Counsellor at the Embassy of India in Qatar.
India holds a special place in the natural gas world as it is one of the largest importers and consumers of natural gas, with a target to increase the contribution of this clean fossil fuel from current 6% to 15% by 2030. In India, natural gas fulfils a versatile role and is used as a feedstock in the manufacture of fertilisers, plastics and other commercially important organic chemicals as well as a fuel for electricity generation, and heating purposes in industrial and commercial units. Natural gas is also used for cooking in domestic households and a transportation fuel for vehicles as Piped Natural Gas (PNG) and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) respectively.
The world’s second most populous country intents to harness this planned increase of natural gas to offset CO2 emissions and achieve its climate change goals. India’s headline pledge at the 2015 Paris Agreement was to reduce the emission intensity of its gross domestic product (greenhouse gases emissions per unit GDP) by 33-35% over 2005 levels by 2030.
“India is one of the largest energy markets in the world, and one with a special interest in natural gas. Ambassador Mittal’s visit to the GECF symbolises the importance India attaches to natural gas, and to the GECF as its leading advocate,” says HE Yury Sentyurin.
During the meeting, Secretary General Sentyurin updated Ambassador Mittal on the growing relationship between the Republic of India and the GECF, which reached a crescendo in 2019 with the visit of HE Dharmendra Pradhan, the Indian Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Minister of Steel, leading a high-level industry delegation to the GECF Secretariat. This visit of HE Pradhan transpired following HE Sentyurin’s attendance at the International Energy Forum Ministerial Meeting (IEF16) in 2018 held under patronage of HE Prime Minister Narendra Modi and reiterated the GECF’s commitment to India as a valuable partner in the country’s development.
Then in 2019, the GECF solidified its presence in ongoing discussions with India by sending a representative to attend the LNG India Summit 2019. In all meetings, the two sides highlighted the key role of the GECF Member Countries in meeting India’s mushrooming LNG demand. In 2019, the GECF Member Countries accounted for more than 80% of LNG supply to India, with Qatar, Nigeria, UAE and Angola standing out as the biggest suppliers.
Ambassador Deepak Mittal briefed Secretary General Sentyurin about various measures being taken by the Government of India to increase the share of gas in its energy mix as a part of its commitment towards clean energy. He conveyed India’s keen interest to engage with the GECF and emphasised on the dialogue between gas consumers and producers and work in a mutually beneficial manner.
While receiving the Ambassador, the Secretary General highlighted the mission and objectives of the Forum, which advocates for an increased share of the natural gas in the global energy mix thanks to its environmentally friendly attributes. The two sides exchanged views on developments in the global energy markets as well as in the Republic of India. HE Sentyurin and HE Mittal also discussed practical steps to take the partnership to the next level, in line with the goals outlined in the 2019 Malabo Declaration at the 5th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the GECF Member Countries, which calls for improved dialogue between natural gas producers and consumers, and the stability and security of supply and demand in natural gas markets.