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PM speech at Asia Gas Summit

New Delhi, Dec 3 : Following is the text of the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh's inaugural address, at the 8th Asia Gas Partnership Summit in New Delhi Tuesday:


"I am very happy to be associated with the Asia Gas Partnership Summit once again, and to address the distinguished delegates who have come here both from within our country, and outside. It is my great pleasure to extend to you, welcome to India, where several exciting developments are taking place all along the gas value chain.

This is a unique platform in the area of energy. The conference had a humble beginning 10 years ago, but now sees participation from several leading oil and gas companies of the world. I congratulate the Gas Authority of India Ltd. (GAIL) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) for their initiative in organizing this event and making it a huge success every year.

Natural gas, as we all know, is the fuel of choice today. It is an efficient fuel for power generation. As a cleaner alternative for vehicles, it reduces air-pollution and leads to an improved quality of life.

Over the years, natural gas has become increasingly important as a source of energy in our country, with the rate of growth in natural gas consumption being the highest among all commercial energy sources. There are a variety of reasons for this including environmental concerns, the need for fuel diversification, energy prices and market deregulation.

Our primary public undertaking in this field, GAIL, has also grown over the years and has become a diversified conglomerate. Today, GAIL is one of our best Public Sector Enterprises and has been categorized as a Maharatna. I am very happy to see GAIL expanding its operations to far-off markets in order to contribute to our energy security.

The natural gas sector has undergone a sea change in recent years in the global context as well. Rapid growth in the production of Shale gas in the United States has opened possibilities of similar success in other parts of the world. The technological and economic possibilities that the Shale gas revolution has opened up are likely to further change the global energy landscape in the years to come. There will be new producers, new consumers and new trading arrangements that will come into place. We too are hopeful that we will be fortunate in discovering Shale gas reserves in our country as well.

The Shale gas revolution has been made possible primarily by two factors - technology and market-based pricing. This is a combination that is essential to provide rapidly growing economies like ours with energy solutions commensurate with our needs.

Asia has been the driver of the global LNG demand. It accounts now for around 70% of all LNG traded globally. It is projected that Asia will continue to occupy the same share in global LNG demand which is likely to grow to 2 to 3 times the current levels by the year 2020.

India needs to increase its energy supply by 3 to 4 times within next two decades. It currently ranks as the world's seventh largest energy producer, accounting for just about 2.5% of the world's total annual energy production, while it is the 4th largest energy consumer. With oil and gas constituting around 41% of India's primary energy consumption, India is expected to be the 3rd largest energy consumer by the year 2020.

To bridge this gap between supply and demand, we are encouraging domestic and global companies to explore our onshore and offshore regions. I take this opportunity to assure investors of our Government's commitment to providing a stable and enabling policy environment for exploration of new sources of energy.

India is also progressively pursuing other options to achieve energy security. One of these is the acquisition of energy assets in other countries. I congratulate GAIL, ONGC Videsh Ltd., and other companies for their efforts in this direction. These will not only help us in securing new supplies of energy but also in acquisition of the latest technological know-how.

The theme of this summit - "Asian Gas Market: Challenges & Opportunities in the changing Paradigm" is of great importance given the huge demand for natural gas in Asia, and the rapid developments which have recently taken place in the oil and gas sector. I am sure the summit will help in finding creative solutions leading to stronger partnerships between buyers in Asia and international sellers. Despite having a huge demand for natural gas, countries like India are not able to secure adequate volumes owing to differences in price expectations between buyers and sellers. I hope this and other similar issues will be addressed during this two day event.

There are exciting opportunities in India for partnerships for joint investments in areas like gas pipeline development, LNG terminals, Petrochemicals, gas trading hubs and city gas distribution. I also hope that the participants in this conference will return with better insights about these opportunities in India as well as in other emerging markets of Asia.

With these words, I wish the 8th Asia Gas Partnership Summit all success. I also wish our guests from abroad a very pleasant stay in our country.

--IBNS (Posted on 03-12-2013)

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