Petroleum and natural gas minister Hardeep Singh Puri has also said that profitable state-run oil firms like BPCL would not be sold off.

Increasing oil and gas production among top priority, says India’s petroleum minister 

According to petroleum and natural gas minister Hardeep Singh Puri, the NDA government’s top aims would be to increase oil and gas output, increase ethanol use, and promote green hydrogen, reported the Economic Times.  He also said that profitable state-run oil firms like BPCL would not be sold off. After assuming leadership of the oil ministry for a second time, Puri addressed a press conference and said that these steps are “an essential continuity of what we have done in the last three years”.In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, in July 2021, Puri took over as minister of oil for the first time during an extended global energy crisis brought on by the post-pandemic economic recovery and the conflicts. 

India’s gas-fired power use rises multi-year highs in May

The Economic Times reported that intense heat and new regulations are driving up the usage of gas-fired electricity in India, where imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) are expected to increase significantly over the next two years. According to data from Grid India, the nation’s output of gas-fired power more than doubled in April and May to 8.9 billion kWh, compared to the same period last year. This is the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic that gas-fired power has surpassed coal-fueled electricity in terms of share. 

In May, coal’s share dipped to 74%, compared with 75.2% during the same month last year, while gas’s share nearly doubled to 3.1% from 1.6%. An emergency clause invoked to force operation of idle gas-fired power plants to avoid power cuts during the 43-day federal elections that ended last week also drove gas usage, industry officials said, as power outages have historically been a key electoral issue. India’s gas-fired power output is expected to grow by 10.5% in the fiscal year ending in March 2025, following a 35% growth the previous year.

TotalEnergies makes LNG deals with India, South Korea

TotalEnergies made deals with Indian Oil Corporation and Korean South-East Power to supply LNG over a long term period, reported the Economic Times. Under the agreement with Indian Oil Corporation, the energy major will supply 800,000 metric tonnes of LNG annually to India starting in 2026 for 10 years. The deal with Korea South-East Power entails a supply of up to 5,00,000 metric tonnes of LNG annually to South Korea beginning in 2027 for five years. These agreements are medium-term outlets for Total’s worldwide LNG supply portfolio and are consistent with its aim of expanding its LNG business. India’s top refiner —Indian Oil Corporation—had earlier signed a long-term deal to receive 1.2 million metric tonnes per year of LNG supplies from United Arab Emirates’ Abu Dhabi Gas Liquefaction Co Ltd (ADNOC LNG), starting from 2026 for 14 years.

India dealing with Norway’s Equinor for oil and gas reserves

India is in talks with the massive Norwegian energy company Equinor about having it participate in the country’s strategic petroleum reserves (SPR) in order to increase energy security in the country, reported the Mint. The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, notably Russia, have been cutting production continuously, Mint said, placing pressure on global supply networks. This has led to ongoing negotiations. With partnerships in state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) on projects related to green hydrogen, offshore wind, and carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS), Equinor is no stranger to India. Equinor-backed Scatec ASA has also partnered  with India’s Acme Group for a $6 billion green hydrogen and green ammonia project in Oman, which would supply emission-free fuel to Europe and Asia.

New Zealand to lift ban on new oil and gas exploration

The government of New Zealand has announced that it intends to reverse a five-year-old prohibition on new oil and gas exploration, a move that has sparked criticism from opposition parties and environmental organisations, reported the Economic Times. The ban that has only permitted exploration for new petroleum on a few onshore fields in the nation’s North Island will be lifted by a bill that is expected to be introduced this year. According to Resources Minister Shane Jones, the prohibition has undermined foreign investment and jeopardised the nation’s energy security. He said that when the exploration ban was introduced by the previous government in 2018, it also shrank investment in further development of our known gas fields which sustain our current levels of use. Many opposing this move are saying adding gas and oil to the climate crisis fire with this action.

UN chief calls for a global fossil-fuel advertising ban, windfall tax

UN secretary general António Guterres issued grim new scientific warnings of global warming and declared that fossil fuel giants are the “godfathers of climate chaos” and should be prohibited from advertising in every nation, similar to prohibitions on big tobacco, the Guardian reported. In a key speech in New York, Guterres warned that the world confronts a “climate crunch time” in its failing attempts to stem the disaster and urged news and tech media to avoid supporting “planetary destruction” by accepting advertising money from fossil fuels. While maintaining that the 1.5C target was “still just about possible,” Guterres stated that much more needed to be done by nations to reduce carbon emissions and increase climate funding for developing nations. He also called for “windfall” tax on profits of fossil fuel companies to help pay for the fight against global warming.

US Supreme Courts asks Biden to weigh in as Big Oil plans to kill lawsuits

The US Supreme Court asked for input from the Biden administration over the request made by Big Oil to avert lawsuits that might result in billion-dollar liabilities for them, the Guardian reported. The year 2020 saw Honolulu file a lawsuit against a number of oil firms, including Sunoco, BP, ConocoPhillips, Shell, and Exxon Mobil. These businesses contend that state courts cannot hear cases involving emissions because they are federal matters. The one-line order will delay the litigation from advancing to trial. It follows an unprecedented pressure campaign from far-right fossil fuel allies on the court. Honolulu is among many cities and states suing oil majors for allegedly concealing the risks associated with their products. 

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