A few days after India announced the National Green Hydrogen Mission, minister for petroleum and natural gas, Hardeep Singh Puri, has said the country is bound to emerge as the global hub for the commodity as it transitions to cleaner sources of energy.
“India will emerge as the global hub for green hydrogen. The 5 million metric tonnes (MMT) per annum target that we have set, I am 100 per cent sure that it is very conservative given what the private sector has already done in moving ahead on green hydrogen, both in terms of producing for India and the export market,” the minister said while exclusively interacting with Business Today during a New Year celebration at his New Delhi residence on Monday.
Adding that green hydrogen's success will depend on a couple of factors such as producers being able to generate demand and the capacity to meet that demand through production and consumption, he said, “I see green hydrogen not only being talked about but also produced and consumed in our refineries. What you are dealing with here is not an idea whose time has come, but an idea that has already translated into a national project.”
He noted the government was trying to create an enabling environment by allocating more than Rs 19,000 crore for various incentives including the manufacture of electrolysers. “The private sector companies have tied up with every possible electrolyser manufacturer in the world. There are three technologies broadly, solid state, polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) and alkaline. Which technology will eventually work out the best, I wouldn’t know. But they are all here,” he said.
Referring to a 2017 meeting he had with then US energy secretary Grace Bochenek after being newly inducted into the union cabinet, he said she had made an unusual request of ‘one, for one, for one’.
“When I asked her to elaborate, she said one kilo of green hydrogen for $1 for ten years. That made me reach out to our oil companies. I asked them how capable were they of bringing down the price to $1,” the minister informed.
He said that just like the Indian renewable energy companies had successfully brought down the price of solar power from 30 cents to 3 cents, the green hydrogen segment will also be witnessing a lot of innovative solutions.
On January 5, minister for power & new and renewable energy, Raj Kumar Singh had also forecast that the country would breach the 5 MMT target that it had set for 2030 while outlining the roadmap for the first phase of the mission.
No international pressure on Russian oil imports
On being asked about the supposed pressure from the west on India's oil imports from Russia in the aftermath of the conflict in Ukraine, he said the country had never kowtowed to anyone and more so now with the Narendra Modi government in power at the centre.
Calling the stories speculation by a section of the western media, he said, “If India stops buying Russian oil, then it will have to buy it from elsewhere. And prices will shoot up. So, it’s in everyone’s interest that these questions of availability and so on are approached with a sense of realism.”
He emphasised the country had moved away from the time when had only five countries supplying up to nine lakh barrels of oil per day.
“We have succeeded in demonstrating that we have a defined market, we have a lot of known consumption and we will use our ability to import from the cheapest source. We have diversified the number of countries that we import oil from the previous 27 to 39,” he said.
He added that the country would buy oil from any producer offering the best deal.
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