Faced with increasing crude oil prices, India and European Union have begun an exercise at closer cooperation in clean coal conversion technologies and explore possibilities of transfer of advanced technologies between companies, possibly through joint ventures.
The move signals closer India-EU cooperation in the energy sector. Crude oil prices have crossed $ 110 per barrel in recent days, adding to the woes of the government which is heavily dependent on imports of hydrocarbons to meet energy needs.
Earlier this year, India had sought increased collaboration from the EU oil companies in the country’s hydrocarbon sector, particularly in the areas of city gas distribution and technology, apart from exploration and production.
India had made strong pitch for investment by European gas companies in city gas distribution network during the recent working group meeting of the Indo-EU energy panel.
“With the growing network of city gas distribution there exists enough opportunities for investment and participation by EU companies as these companies have rich expertise of gas use and India can provide ample opportunity in the near future”, a source, who attended the meeting, said.
In addition, top Indian petroleum ministry and industry officials told their EU counterparts that there was a need to establish a direct trading link between the two regions for trade of petroleum products.
India and EU has also agreed to promote participation of EU companies in tenders being floated by Indian power sector companies. “India will participate in zero emission fossil fuel power plants (ZEP) programme of EU,” source said. Apart from this, joint studies regarding feasibility of introducing cycles for power generation in India, including retrofitting in the existing power plants will also be conducted.
Coal has been a key element of EU’s energy security and India could gain from association with EU as it too has abundant coal. EU also aims at capturing the global high efficiency, low emission technology market. EU is aiming at 20 per cent reduction of its emissions by 2020 and is accordingly trying to achieve ZEP.
Among other areas of cooperation are joint R&D projects in local gasification for Indian coal and hot gas clean up technologies.