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PM Modi meets with US energy sector CEOs

An MoU was also signed between Tellurian, a US natural gas company, and India's Petronet

By PTI in Houston

  • Published 22.09.19, 1:58 PM
  • Updated 22.09.19, 1:58 PM
Prime Minister Narendra Modi poses with the CEOs of US oil and gas companies for a group photograph in Houston on Saturday, September 21, 2019.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi poses with the CEOs of US oil and gas companies for a group photograph in Houston on Saturday, September 21, 2019. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday met the CEOs from the US oil and gas sectors and discussed how to harness opportunities in the area to address India's growing energy needs.

The meeting on Saturday focused on working together for energy security and expanding mutual investment opportunities between India and the United States.

"It is impossible to come to Houston and not talk energy! Had a wonderful interaction with leading energy sector CEOs. We discussed methods to harness opportunities in the energy sector," Modi, who arrived in Houston on a week-long visit to the US, said in a tweet after the meeting.

The CEOs of 17 global energy companies took part in the meeting. They have a combined net worth of USD 1 trillion with a presence in 150 countries, spokesperson of ministry of external affairs Raveesh Kumar said.

He said that all the companies present in the meeting have some kind of engagement in India.

The Prime Minister also witnessed the signing of MoU between US natural gas company Tellurian Inc. and Petronet LNG Limited (PLL) of India after the meeting.

As per the MoU, PLL will invest USD 2.5 billion in Tellurian's proposed Driftwood LNG export terminal, in exchange for the rights to 5 million metric tons of LNG per year over 40 years. The two companies will endeavour to finalise the transaction agreements by March 31, 2020.

"It is an honour to sign the MoU with Petronet in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. At Tellurian, we look forward to a long and prosperous partnership with Petronet in the Driftwood project," Tellurian's president and CEO Meg Gentle said.

The Driftwood project includes natural gas production, gathering, processing and transportation facilities, along with Driftwood LNG, a proposed 27.6 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) liquefaction export facility that will be located near Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Earlier, the Prime Minister's Office had posted on Twitter a couple of photographs of Modi's meeting with the chief executive officers of some of the top oil companies based in the US.

"Further energising India-USA friendship. Among the first engagements of PM @narendramodi in Houston is a meeting with CEOs from the energy sector. India and USA are looking to diversify cooperation in this sector," the PMO tweeted.

Noting that there has been a considerable improvement in doing business in India, the CEOs, during their interaction with Modi, welcomed the recent steps taken by his government to reform and liberalize the economy, including cutting down the corporate tax structure.

The CEOs talked about enhancing their footprint in India and lauded the Indian government for steps taken towards deregulation in the sector, the MEA spokesperson said.

We made some suggestions and Modi was very receptive to it, Seifi Ghasemi, CEO of Air Products told reporters after the energy roundtable.

We have made suggestions about hydrogen technology, Ghasemi said in response to a question.

"The meeting was very, very productive. Specific suggestions that CEOs made was that India has a lot of coal, especially low-quality coal. They said they have technologies to convert that coal to synthetic gas, which can be used for making chemicals and reduce India's dependence on imported oil," Ghasemi said.

The CEOs of major companies present in the meeting included those from Air Products, Baker Hughes, BP PLC, Cheniere Energy, Dominion Energy, Emerson Electric Company, ExxonMobil, Perot Group and Hillwood, IHS Markit, Lyondellbasell Industries, Mcdermott, Schlumberger, Tellurian Inc., Total S.A., Vinmar International and Westlake Chemicals.

Indian officials said the meeting was fruitful and one of the main objectives of the meeting was to listen from the CEOs and get their perspective on various aspects of India's energy sector ranging from environment to technology to investment and energy independence.

It was an amazing opportunity for the energy and chemicals based industries here in Houston where the leaders of the energy industry were given Indian prospective of energy requirements, Rajesh Desai, senior vice-president of Fluor, told PTI after the meeting.

"Innovative technology was given a high priority. It was great to understand that high priority was given to the reduction of carbon footprint and that India would welcome energy industries with open arms that can help with PM's Make in India concept," Desai said.

Mike Train, president of Emerson told PTI, "We had a number of recommendations, you know, again, ease of doing business, We've done a lot of work with Invest India, which has been very helpful and on our new factory project we're working on right now. Just to continue to drive those types of changes for and again will make India competitive."

Vijay Goradia from Vinmar told PTI goals and expectations for India's energy security and reduction of carbon emissions and an overall reduction in pollution are not mutually exclusive.

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi articulated this very clearly. We came away convinced that the environment is very conducive to grow US-India partnership in energy," he said.

Modi is scheduled to address over 50,000 Indian-Americans at the "Howdy, Modi!" event on Sunday, in which he will be joined by US President Donald Trump.

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