NEW DELHI - India will account for approximately 25 percent of the growth in global energy demand in the two-decade period up to 2040, according to India’s Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Hardeep Singh Puri.

Quoting both industry and research estimates, Puri said India’s energy strategy is based on such an expectation and has been acknowledged as being pragmatic and balanced. “Ensuring energy access, availability and affordability for our large population is imperative,” he noted.

Puri said India plans to double its geographic area under oil and gas exploration from 0.25 million sq km to 0.5 million sq km. “Prohibited or no-go areas in the country’s exclusive economic zones have been reduced by 99 percent, releasing nearly one million sq km for exploration,” he added.

“We are also rapidly expanding our petrochemical production. India is now a global exporter of petroleum products and its refining capacity is the fourth largest globally. Efforts are underway to further enhance this capacity to 450 million metric tons by 2040,” according to the Minister.

He said reforms are making India an attractive energy and power destination for global investors.