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Pradhan pitches for funds to boot energy sector start-ups

 PTI |  2016-09-07 22:43:45.0  |  New Delhi

Pradhan pitches for funds to boot energy sector start-ups

“I am advising my CEO friends in PSUs that if Ratan Tata can put his private funds for startups and if Narayana Murthy can do that for new startups then why cannot you (do that),” Pradhan said addressing a conference on methanol economy organised by NITI Aayog.

“ONGC has already offered Rs 100 crore for startups. Can we create a synergy in innovation and this kind of startup fund. This can be a win win situation for all of us. Let us create a platform for our young Indians and scientific brains,” he said. On moving to methanol-based economy, he said, it is a ready made case of proven technology. A methanol-based economy can create a lot of employment and entrepreneurship.

On this occasion, NITI Aayog signed a Statement of Intent with the Methanol Institute of the US to further work on the technology. “The raw material (for producing methanol) should be coming from the Indian market. If we could monetise the agriculture waste and bio waste in urban areas to energy then there will be two benefits - Sizeable reduction of health expenditure and our economy can be multi-fold,” he said. He further said :”How do we reduce our import dependency. My ministry is ready to offer Rs one lakh crore business to scientific community. Now India is importing Rs 4.5 lakh crore worth of hydrocarbons. Technology is there. Blending of 85 per cent of ethanol in transportation fuel is possible.” 

He also said that petroleum consumption is increasing in the country. “Last financial year, where the prediction of petroleum consumption was 7-8 per cent, the actual growth was 11 per cent. Petroleum need is growing in a bigger way. The rural India is emerging in a big way. Petrol consumption is increasing in hinterland of the country,” he added.

Realising the potential of methanol and DME (dimethyl ether) as a transportation fuel in road, shipping and rail, NITI Aayog has constituted an Expert Group to develop a roadmap for India to adopt ‘Methanol Economy’. The group will explore various techno commercial angles to enhance production of methanol through natural gas, high ash content coal and through bio, agri and municipal solid waste. It will also draw out a technical roadmap to adopt both methanol and DME as chemical feedstock and for power generation.

Meanwhile, Dharmendra Pradhan will lead a roadshow on Friday, offering international investors 625 million barrels of oil and gas resources for exploitation. As part of the government’s global industry outreach plan, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas along with Directorate General of Hydrocarbon (DGH) is organising an interactive meet cum roadshow on 9-10 September here. 

India to raise share of gas in energy mix from 6.5% to 15%
In a bid to move towards gas-based economy, India will increase proportion of natural gas in its energy mix from existing 6.5 per cent to 15 per cent, Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Tuesday. “At present the (proportion of) gas is 6.5 per cent in our (India’s) energy basket. 
We are not producing country. We have planned 15 per cent,” Pradhan said while launching the ‘Gas4India’ campaign, aimed at promoting the use of gas in the country. The minister, however, did not give any timeline to achieve this objective. Pradhan said, “The world average (of gas proportion in energy mix) is 23.5 per cent. 

In Gujarat, where our Prime Minister Narendra Modi was Chief Minister for three terms, this average is 26 per cent.” Pradhan was of the view that the consumption of gas should be increased as it is a clean fuel and makes economic sense in view of various technologies available for converting bio waste, sewage, high ash contend coal, bagass, husk and other feedstock to gas. 

The minister said that besides the move to enhance gas production, the government is promoting nationwide gas grid and setting up gas infrastructure. He said that GAIL has already finished the tendering process for gas grid and actual process of laying pipelines will begin soon. 

The minister on Tuesday held meeting with senior officials and representatives from 20 big cities.

During the meeting, the issues of road cutting fee, Uniform Tax for PNG, provisioning of PNG infrastructure for upcoming smart cities were discussed. Public and private sector companies working in the sector have joined hands to promote the natural gas sector under the ‘Gas4India’. It is a unified cross-country, multimedia, multi-event campaign. 

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