Ministry of Petroleum and Natural gas Current Affairs - 2020

India signs MoU to store strategic reserves of petroleum in the US

On July, 17, 2020, India and United States signed Memorandum of Understanding to begin discussions on storing petroleum reserves in the US soil. A virtual US-India Strategic Energy Partnership Ministerial was held between the Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Shri Dharmendra Pradhan and Energy Secretary of US Dan Brouillette.

Highlights

The countries signed Memorandum of Understanding to begin discussions on cooperation and maintenance of strategic petroleum reserves. This includes exchange of information and best practices as well.

Background

With the historic drop in global crude oil prices, India is actively increasing its oil stockpiles both inside the country and also overseas.

US-India Strategic Energy Partnership

The partnership works to support sustainable energy development. Under this, the countries collaborate on smart grids, renewable energy, clean energy and unconventional sources of energy.

Under the partnership, India-US has increased their hydrocarbon trade in the last three years. The bilateral hydrocarbon trade was 9.2 billion USD between 2019-20.

India and US are currently working on carbon capture, utilization and storage.

Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Limited

The ISPRL is the Indian Company responsible for maintaining strategic petroleum reserves of India. It is completely operated by the Oil Industry Development Board that functions under Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

The ISPRL maintains emergency fuel store of 5.33 million tonnes that is enough to provide 10 days of consumption.

Locations

The crude oil storages are at three underground locations namely Mangalore, Padur and Vishakhapatnam. They are located in the east and west coast of India and are readily accessible to the refineries.

Future plans

In 2017-18 budget, the then finance minister Arun Jaitley announced two more petroleum reserves are to be set up in Bikaner, Rajasthan and Chandikhole, Odisha. Also, the capacity of Padur petroleum reserve is to be doubled. The projects have been approved by the cabinet and are under implementation. These additional petroleum reserves will increase India’s capacity to 12.33 million tonnes.

Ministry of Shipping: Rs 107 crores approved for modern firefighting facilities

On July 14, 2020, the Ministry of Shipping approved Rs 107 crores to augment firefighting facilities in Haldia Dock Complex, Kolkata port.

Background

The current fire fighting facility at the port does not support handling of LPG and other petroleum products. It does not hold safety precautions as per the guidelines of Oil Industry Safety Directorate (OISD). Therefore, the port is being upgraded with modern firefighting facilities.

Highlights

The firefighting facilities installed will ensure safe handling of movement of petro-chemical products. The LNG and LPG cargo are expected to increase in Haldia port in the near future. Therefore, its is essential to increase its safety features. The facility being upgraded sticks to guidelines of OISD.

Oil Industry Safety Directorate

The OISD operates under Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. Under the guidelines of OISD, the ministry has prioritised safety and security of cargo operation in all major ports.

Functions of OISD

The directorate formulates procedures and guidelines in design, operation and maintenance. It conducts audits to ensure compliance to such standards. The OISD will analyse and investigate incidents happening in the oil and gas industry and will identify root cause and formulate action plan.