NEW DELHI, July 11 (UPI) -- India's finance minister said the country needs to double its existing natural gas pipeline infrastructure to diversify the national energy sector.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the government aims to add another 9,300 miles to the existing network of about 9,300 miles of pipeline crisscrossing the country.
"This will help increase the usage of gas, domestic as well as imported, which in the long-term will be beneficial in reducing dependence on any one energy source," he said Thursday.
The government in April said it expected natural gas demand to more than double by the beginning of the next decade.
According to the terms of a five-year energy plan, the Indian government has said it wants to add at least one transnational pipeline to the midstream sector from either Iran, Oman or Central Asia.
The minister said the pipeline expansions could come through a mix of public- and private-sector funding.
India's state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd. said it expects to produce as much as 353 million cubic feet of natural gas from reserves off the Indian coast by 2018.