India’s Reliance vows to boost national energy security

MUMBAI, September 21, 2008 (AFP) – Indian fuel giant Reliance said on Sunday it would boost domestic oil and gas output by 40 percent over the next 18 months, calling the move a “quantum leap” toward national energy self-sufficiency.

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Fuel-hungry India, which imports 70 percent of its oil needs, has been racing to discover new sources of energy to power its fast growing economy.

Reliance chairman Mukesh Ambani announced the first flow of crude from the company’s deep-sea oil and gas field in the Bay of Bengal, calling it a “major victory in the battle for energy security.”

Oil production was launched last week in the D6 sector of the Krishna Godavari basin with an initial flow of 5,000 barrels a day.

That figure will rise to the equivalent of 550,000 barrels per day over the next 18 months as gas production also comes on stream, Ambani, India’s richest man, told reporters.

With Reliance’s contribution in the energy sector, India’s “indigenous production of hydrocarbons will increase by over 40 percent in the next 18 months,” Ambani said, calling it a “quantum leap.”