India predicts 40% leap in demand for fossil fuels
NEW DELHI (AFP) – Premier Manmohan Singh told India’s energy firms on Monday to scour the globe for fuel supplies as he warned the country’s demand for fossil fuels is set to soar 40 percent over the next decade.
The country of more than 1.1 billion people already imports nearly 80 percent of its crude oil to fuel an economy that is expected to grow 8.5 percent this year and at least nine percent next year.
Demand for hydrocarbons — petroleum, coal, natural gas — “over the next 10 years will increase by over 40 percent,” Singh told an energy conference in New Delhi.
“India needs adequate supplies of energy at affordable prices to meet the demand of its rapidly growing economy,” he said, as rising Indian incomes spur industrial demand and more people buy energy-guzzling cars and appliances.
Singh’s call comes as India is locked in a race with emerging market rival China for fuel supplies to feed their booming economies in which analysts say Beijing has taken a strong lead.
India faces “immense competition from China which has been far quicker to react when an asset becomes available,” Kalpana Jain, senior director of global consultancy Deloitte, told AFP.