ONGC charts buyout route To reach green energy milestone

Though not in a “tearing hurry”, the state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) is looking at acquisitions in order to reach its target of 10 GW of installed renewable energy capacity by the year 2040.

“Renewables seem to be making a lot of business sense today. We are looking at the possibility of inorganic investments,” said ONGC Chairman Subhash Kumar in an analyst call. He, however, said the company was not in a “tearing hurry” to reach its target quickly as it was not immediately necessary from a marketing perspective, since India imported about 85 per cent of its crude oil requirements.

“No significant allocation (for renewables) is there in this Rs 32,000 crore (capex plan),” he said. ONGC had about 178 MW of installed renewable energy capacity at the end of FY20.

Both upstream and downstream oil and gas players in India are making investments in renewable energy, mindful of a potential shift in energy consumption away from fossil fuels. India’s largest oil marketing company, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), has already installed renewable energy capacity of 233 MW, of which 167.6 MW is wind power capacity and 63.4 MW is solar power capacity. The company has launched pilot projects for fuel stations, offering battery swapping for electric vehicles.

The state-owned refiner is also planning on building a green hydrogen plant in Mathura, the country’s first, for use in its refineries. At present, brown and grey hydrogen, which are produced through coal gasification or by using natural gas, are employed in refineries in the production process of petroleum products.

Highlighting the green credentials of the proposed Mathura plant, IndianOil Chairman S M Vaidya said the company would use power sources from its own wind power projects in Rajasthan to “produce absolutely green hydrogen through electrolysis.”

The government has set installed renewable energy capacity target of 450 GW, up from the current 100 GW.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his Independence Day address, announced the National Hydrogen Mission, with the aim of turning India into a global hub of green hydrogen.

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