Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Steel Shri Dharmendra Pradhan today interacted with a delegation from Russian media. Speaking to the delegation, Shri Pradhan said, “2019 was a landmark year which boosted the bilateral relations between India and Russia to hitherto unscaled heights. The special and privileged strategic partnership between our two countries was strengthened significantly. Hon. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has described Russia as a reliable partner and a special friend and President Putin in turn has talked of taking India-Russia relations to new heights of cooperation. It is uncommon to find two major powers that have developed a partnership such as ours.”

On bilateral co-operation in steel sector, Shri Pradhan said, “We remember fondly the contribution of then Soviet Union in development of our steel industry. We recognise the immense potential of Russia in supplying coking or metallurgical coal, which is largely imported by India, to support the Indian steel industry. During my visit to Moscow and a follow up visit to Vladivostok, we were able to identify the strong potential for expanding cooperation between India and the Russian Far East for import of coking coal. Further, I had requested Russian authorities to invest in developing the inland and port logistic of the Far East, improve connectivity of these ports with mining locations and improvements in evacuation infrastructure. In a short span of less than six months, Indian steel makers significantly increased off-peak of coking coal from the Far East Russia. I see great prospects in this sector in the coming years.”

Speaking about co-operation in oil and gas sector, Minister Pradhan said, “With the guidance of our strong leaders, we have strengthened our engagement in hydrocarbon sector. There is an ‘Energy Bridge’ between our two countries. With Russia being one of the largest producers of oil and natural gas and India being the world’s third largest energy consumer, Russia has the potential to become an important source to fulfill India’s oil and gas requirements. The Joint Statement on cooperation in oil and gas during Hon’ble Prime Minister’s visit to Russia in September provides a roadmap to deepen cooperation in the hydrocarbon sector. We invite investments by Russian companies in Indian oil and gas sector, particularly in gas business, gas infrastructure and petrochemicals.”

On the gas based economy, he said, “India has also embarked on the path of becoming a gas based economy. India is investing over $60 billion in developing natural gas supply and distribution infrastructure. LNG imports from Russia at competitive rates will help us in meeting the objectives of price stability and energy security.”

Speaking about connectivity, Shri Pradhan said, “We are keen to explore the new sea route to source crude oil and LNG through Russia’s Arctic. The route has the potential to cut the cost and time for transporting LNG from Russia to India. A sea line between Far-East Russia and the East coast of India will also facilitate sourcing of coking coal from the region.”

On crude oil sourcing, Shri Pradhan said, “We are working on the strategy to diversify our crude oil supply sources and we are now exploring ways to import crude from Russia as well.”