India will raise the area under exploration and production for oil and gas to 500,000 square kilometers (sq km) by 2025 and hit 1m sq km by 2030, as reported by Economic Times on February 4. Over the past five years, the country has doubled the area under exploration for oil and gas to 207,692 sq km. According to India’s Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri, as the world’s third-largest energy consumer, India will continue to rely on hydrocarbons to meet its growing power demand in the foreseeable future. However, Puri declared that India’s economic growth could accelerate global economic recovery, creating a multiplier driving force for the sustainable development goals.
Amid the steep rise of oil import bills and the expanding energy demand indispensable for economic growth, India set the oil and gas exploration target, going against its commitment of realizing net-zero carbon emissions by 2070. During the nine months through December 2021, India’s spending on crude oil imports surged 108% YoY to USD82.4bn mainly due to the global oil price hike. Additionally, India aims to raise its gross domestic product (GDP) to USD5tr in 2025 and USD10tr in 2030 from its current level of USD3tr, conducive to a boom in energy demand. In a move to curb emissions despite the expected rise of energy demand, the country has pledged to raise the share of natural gas in its energy mix to 15% in 2030 from 6% at present and develop electric vehicles (EV), ethanol-blended petrol, and hydrogen fuels.