In what will project India’ presence among the small island countries, state run Indian Oil Corp. Ltd (IOC) will aggregate the petroleum fuel demand of such nations, thereby bringing down their fuel import costs and help with their energy security efforts.
IOC, the country’s largest oil refiner has been asked by International Solar Alliance (ISA) to study the petroleum imports of 37 small island countries, said ISA Director General Upendra Tripathy.
This comes in the backdrop of ISA becoming a significant foreign policy tool for New Delhi even as China attempts to co-opt countries into its ambitious One Belt One Road initiative. As many as 88 countries have signed the ISA framework agreement, and 70 have ratified it.
Given the demand aggregation and supply will help bring down the fuel import costs of such island countries, the savings will be then used for setting up solar power projects, Tripathy said at the Maldives country session during the third edition of global renewable energy investors’ meet and expo (RE-Invest) on Saturday.
India is helping the atoll nation to tide over economic woes caused by the pandemic that originated in Wuhan, after a period that saw the former leadership of the Maldives leaning towards China. To counter Beijing, the US is also seeking a bigger role for India in stabilizing and maintaining the rule of law in the Indo-Pacific region.
Queries sent to an IOC spokesperson on Saturday evening wasn’t immediately answered.
India is the world’s third-largest crude oil buyer and a key refining hub in Asia, with an installed capacity of more than 249.36 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) through 23 refineries. Large Indian refiners include IOC, Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd, Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd, Nayara Energy Ltd (formerly Essar Oil) and Reliance Industries Ltd. Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month said that India plans to grow its refining capacity from around 250 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) to 400 mtpa by 2025.
The development assumes significance given that the ISA has achieved global disruption by bringing down the cost of solar-powered agricultural pumps by half, Mint reported earlier. India’s state-run Energy Efficiency Services Ltd conducted the largest global price discovery exercise by aggregating the demand from 22 ISA member nations, in a potential order valued at $2.7 billion.
India is trying to build strong ties from Pacific Island countries and has also offered to partner with 14 of them, including Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa. ISA on its part has also inked a partnership agreement with state-run NTPC Ltd for developing solar projects in 47 of least developed and small island developing member countries.