PM for aligning energy prices with global mkt

Pitching for more curbs on energy subsidies, Prime Minister Manomohan Singh on Monday urged the central and the state governments to work together to create a public awareness on the need to bring energy prices at par with global prices.

He said coal, petroleum products and natural gas prices in India are well below international prices. "To meet our target of rapid, inclusive and sustainable development, we must undertake a phased rationalization of energy prices to bring them in line with global prices," he said, after laying the foundation stone for the integrated refinery expansion and modernization projects of Bharat Petroleum Corporation's Kochi refinery.

Singh also called for large-scale investments in the field of oil and gas exploration and acquisition of assets overseas for supplies of energy at affordable prices. "To achieve our target of rapid industrial and economic growth, we need adequate supplies of energy at affordable prices. Oil and gas will continue to meet a very large part of our energy requirements for many years to come. As you all know we remain dependent on imports for meeting a major portion of our crude oil requirements. It is for this reason that we will require large-scale investments in the field of exploration for oil and gas within the country, acquisition of oil and gas-producing assets overseas and strengthening of the marketing and distribution infrastructure in our own country," he added.

The Prime Minister said the government remains committed to encouraging companies to undertake domestic exploration for oil and gas. He expressed happiness that public sector companies are looking at opportunities abroad, including the success of Bharat Petroleum in the upstream exploration and production sector, particularly in Mozambique and Brazil. " It should be a matter of satisfaction for all of us that with a refining capacity of 215 million metric tonnes per annum, India today is not only self-sufficient in meeting the demand of petroleum products, but is also making substantial exports. During 2011-12, we exported 60.8 million metric tonne of petroleum products worth Rs. 2,85,000 crore, resulting in petroleum products becoming our single largest merchandise export."

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