NEW DELHI – Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director, arrived in New Delhi on Wednesday for an official visit to meet with government leaders and participate in the 16th International Energy Forum Ministerial.
India was welcomed into the IEA Family in 2017 as an Association member, expanding the IEA’s partnership for a more secure and sustainable energy future with the world’s third-largest energy consumer.
Following Prime Minister Modi’s opening address that called for responsible energy pricing that balances the interests of producers and consumers, Dr Birol provided a keynote scene-setting presentation to the International Energy Forum Ministerial. His remarks covered the need for investment in upstream oil to meet rising demand and offset decline in mature fields, how competitive prices are vital for growth in gas markets, the rapid growth in solar and wind, and prospects for reaching universal access to electricity, including India’s significant achievements over recent years in this respect.
India Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets IEA Executive Director Dr Fatih Birol (right) at the International Energy Forum Ministerial in New Delhi on 11 April 2018 (Photograph: International Energy Forum)
Following his presentation, Dr Birol held a bilateral meeting with Mr Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas. Minister Pradhan and Dr Birol discussed how the IEA can best support India’s efforts to enhance its emergency preparedness and oil security and agreed that the IEA will work closely with Indian industry and government on these issues. They also discussed India’s reforms to encourage investment in oil and gas exploration through its new Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP).
Dr Birol then met with Mr Piyush Goyal, Minister of Railways and Coal. Dr Birol and Minister Goyal discussed possible future collaboration on rail transport, and Minister Goyal shared the government’s efforts for electrification and improvement of energy efficiency, and plans for India and the IEA to collaborate on a Global Railway Outlook to analyse prospects for the rail transport sector and how it can contribute to a more sustainable energy future.
IEA Executive Director Dr Fatih Birol (left) with Mr Piyush Goyal, Minister of Railways and Coal (Photograph: IEA)
On Thursday Dr Birol met with Mr Raj Kumar Singh, Minister of New and Renewable Energy. Discussions focused on ongoing cooperation between the IEA and the International Solar Alliance. The two also discussed the key challenges India faces in integrating variable renewables and how the IEA will be working with Indian policy makers and system operators to promote best practices in this area. Dr Birol also praised India’s remarkable progress in improving access to electricity, particularly in rural areas.
IEA Executive Director Dr Fatih Birol (right) with Mr Raj Kumar Singh, Minister of New and Renewable Energy (Photograph: IEA)
Following this, Dr Birol met with Mr Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog, to discuss cooperation between IEA and India on energy data and statistics and on sharing global best practices for the deployment of flexible power and the integration of renewable energy.