India has sought increased collaboration from oil companies in the European Union (EU) with the country's hydrocarbon sector, particularly in the areas of city gas distribution and technology, apart from exploration and production. India has made strong pitch for investment by European gas companies in the city's gas distribution network during the recent working group meeting of the Indo-EU energy panel, sources said.
"With the growing network of city gas distribution, there exist enough opportunities for investment and participation by EU companies as these companies have rich expertise in the use of gas and India can provide ample opportunity in the near future," said a source who attended the meeting.
In addition, top Indian petroleum ministry and industry officials told their counterparts in the EU that there was a need to establish a direct trading link between the two regions for trade of petro products.
"Indian officials pointed out that while export has a major potential in India, it is presently through traders in Singapore. If the consumers in EU countries could directly procure from Indian companies through long-term contracts, the middle-men could be removed resulting in major cost advantages," the source said.
India would have a total refining capacity of about 140 million tonnes by 2012 with an export potential of more than $40 million tonnes. "It provides huge opportunities for European companies to set up new refineries as well as for upgrading the capabilities of the existing refineries with Euro IV compliant products," an official said.
The increasing refining capacity would enable Indian companies to produce high specification ( Euro III and Euro IV compliant) petroleum products that would be much in excess of local consumption. "European countries must tap this opportunity of importing petrol and diesel directly from Indian oil refining and marketing companies," the official said.
India also lamented the poor presence of European oil companies in the services sector. "There is need for exploring possibilities of collaboration of newer technologies, beyond 'delayed coker' expansion," the source said.
Delayed coking is a relatively higher severity thermal cracking process. Delayed coking has been selected by many refiners as their preferred choice for bottom of the barrel upgradation, because of its inherent flexibility to handle even the heaviest of residues.