Guwahati, Nov 29, IRNA -- India's Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar said on Sunday that in order to meet growing demand for natural gas India will increase domestic production and import gas by pipeline from Iran through Pakistan.
India produces about 90 million standard cubic meters of natural gas per day as against its daily demand of 120 million standard cubic meters. The projected demand of natural gas in India by 2020 stands at a staggering 400 million standard cubic meters a day, India's Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar told journalists in Assam's main city of Guwahati.
"Much depends on the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline if we are to provide energy security in the country," Aiyar said, adding that newer technologies are to be invented if India wishes to increase crude oil production.
He also said India was shifting its focus from striking crude oil to natural gas and foreign experts have been called in to look for gas reserves in the bed of the great Asian river Brahmaputra.
"The answer lies not in striking crude oil but finding more and more gas reserves in the country. Natural gas is going to be the fuel of the future by substituting oil."
The minister said two new gas fields were found in eastern Assam recently, while six more gas fields were under survey in the adjoining Arunachal Pradesh state.
Aiyar said India's state-owned Oil India Limited (OIL) is bringing in six geo-physical contractors from the United States, France, Poland and Britain next week for an on-the-spot survey of the river.
The six firms are the Compagnie Generale De Geophysique (France), Petroleum Geo Services (USA), Western Geco (USA), Western Geco (UK), GT Poland and Grant Geophysical (USA).
"One of the companies will get the contract for carrying out this exciting project of looking for gas reserves in the Brahmaputra river bed," the minister said.
The entire operation, organized by the OIL, is expected to cost about one billion rupees (22.1 million dollars), an OIL official said.
"We do not really know if we will strike gas but then there is a very strong potential and hence this risky venture of undertaking a survey to find gas reserves in the bed of the Brahmaputra," Aiyar said.
The 2,906-kilometer-long (1,816 mile) Brahmaputra is one of Asia's largest and most turbulent rivers, traversing its first stretch of 1,625 km through China's Tibet region, the next 918 km through India, and the remaining 363 km through neighboring Bangladesh before emptying into the Bay of Bengal.
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