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US to intensify energy initiatives with India

On the growing demand for fossil fuel led by the US, China and India, Bush stressed focusing on nuclear power.

india Updated: Mar 02, 2006 16:33 IST

US President George W Bush on Thursday underlined the need to intensify initiatives with India in pursuit of renewable or alternate sources of energy to take the pressure off crude oil whose prices are soaring.

"We are looking forward to working with India in an advanced energy initiative," Bush said in a statement announcing an agreement between the two countries on civilian nuclear power cooperation.

The civil nuclear cooperation agreement is the offshoot of a pact the US and India signed on July 18, 2005, during the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Washington.

"As we develop our technology, we look forward to working with India as we want to end dependence on fossil fuels which are resulting in rising prices in our countries," the president said during his interaction with the media.

On convincing the Congress on the benefits of the nuclear deal with India, Bush said: "I will tell the Congress that our relationship is changing for the better."

Lauding the contribution of Indian Americans, Bush said while nuclear proliferation was definitely a concern, "the Congress will have to understand that it is in our economic interest that India have the civilian nuclear power industry to take the pressure off global demand for fossil fuel.

"The more there is demand for alternate or renewable sources of energy, the less there will be demand for fossil fuels and the better it will be for the American consumers," Bush said.

On the growing demand for fossil fuel led by the US, China and India, Bush stressed that by focusing on nuclear power, which was a renewable energy source, the three countries could help to reduce the demand for crude oil.

In a joint statement issued by the leaders of both countries, the US has agreed on India's participation in FutureGen, an international public-private partnership to develop new, commercially viable technology for a clean coal near-zero emission power project.

India will contribute funding to the project and participate in the Government Steering Committee of this initiative.

Under a proposal for creation of an Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, India and the US have agreed to work together with other countries in the region to pursue sustainable development and meet increased energy needs while addressing concerns of energy security and climate change.

"The partnership will collaborate to promote the development, diffusion, deployment and transfer of cleaner, cost-effective and more efficient technologies and practices," the official statement said.

The partnership is likely to see India joining the Integrated Ocean Drilling Programme, an international marine research endeavor led by Japan and the US, to study long-term energy solutions such as gas hydrates, which are frozen reservoirs of gas in deep sea waters.

Commercial exploitation of gas hydrates is expected to start in 2015-2020.

India will also be joining the an international project ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) involving China, the European Union and Switzerland (represented by Euratom), Japan, South Korea, Russia and the US under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

In the area of oil and gas, the two countries have decided to work together in not just commercial exploitation of gas hydrates but also hydrogen, clean coal technology, coal bed methane as also treatment of residues from refineries and production and storage of hydrocarbons.

The US Trade and Development Agency is expected to be funding a visit by a nine-member Indian delegation for making them aware of the US expertise in the oil and gas sector while making US companies aware about opportunities in India.