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Indian Crude Oil Exhausted in <20 Yrs.

The Financial Express. Indian experts estimate that the country’s crude oil reserves will be exhausted in less than 20 years.

“At the current rate of production, we have 18-20 years of oil buffer and about 28 years of gas reserves,” Avinash Chandra, former director general of the directorate general of hydrocarbon, said.

ONGC chairman and MD Subir Raha said “we are not doing enough to build our ability through creation of strategic stockpile, to sustain disruption in oil supplies.”

Oil output will peak in less than 10 years time, he said, emphasizing the need for a national energy security plan for a unified approach to energy security.

Let’s look at some charts. (Click on image to enlarge.) To the right is a plot, based on BP’s annual statistical review, of Indian oil production since 1965. It certainly appears to have plateaued. Less than 10 years might be too optimistic.

Next is a plot of Indian oil consumption versus domestic production. You can see that the import gap is quite large, and presumably will continue to widen. Hence, the emphasis within Indian on alternative sources of energy (post upcoming on that) and fuel, including a strong push on biofuels. India, like China, wants to grow to serve its enormous population.


Mr Raha said while renewable energy may at best be able to replace 30 per cent of the oil consumption in the next 20 years, emphasis should be on saving oil through use of efficient technology in motor engines, irrigation pumps etc and incentivising conservation.

Harsh, but pragmatic, in service of a rapidly developing country with not much margin for error. We could take some lessons as to the benefits of conservation and efficiency.


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