July 20 (UPI) -- The government of India said it held its first advisory council meeting to lay out an ambitious road map to cut oil and gas imports by 10 percent.
Indian Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan chaired the first meeting for the body tasked with cutting oil and gas dependency. During the meeting, the ministry said expanding domestic oil and gas developments, including shale reserves, and coal-bed methane could help the country achieve its goals for the start of the next decade.
"Pradhan stressed on the importance of concerted and coordinated efforts by all ministries to create an enabling environment for accelerated exploration and production activities," the ministry stated.
Addressing the World Petroleum Congress last week, the minister said the emerging economies in Asia are driving the growing demand for energy. At a time when major oil producing nations are stemming production to address supply-side market strains, Pradham said energy consumers had concerns of their own.
"India is the only country where the demand will continue to rise for more than a decade," he said.
Coal is still a dominant energy form in India, and parts of the country still lack a reliable source of electricity. India is No. 4 in the world in terms of new solar power and No. 4 in the world based on cumulative wind power capacity.
India aims to triple its renewable power capacity by 2022 to 175 gigawatts by drawing on new solar and wind energy sources.
A report from General Electric, which has operations in both renewable and conventional energy resources, said the Indian government has ambitious plans to boost oil and gas production, but has fallen short of its goals in the past.
Nearly half of India's energy comes from oil and natural gas. GE estimated that India could exhaust its proven resources within the next 25 years, but added that barely a quarter of the country's reserves have been explored.
The International Monetary Fund said India, one of the world's fastest-growing economies, may have issues with attracting capital because of the amount of bad loans on its books and the general health of the nation's banking system.