India has signed two memoranda of understanding with leading UK universities having enormous petroleum research facilities, marking a "significant breakthrough" for the research and development needs of its petroleum industry.
The MoUs were signed on Friday evening at the Imperial College in London in the presence of Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Murli Deora and Indian High Commissioner Kamlesh Sharma.
The first MoU was signed by A K Jain, director, ministry of petroleum and natural gas and Julia King, principal, faculty of engineering, Imperial College of Science and Technology and Medicine.
The second one was signed by Jain and Dominic Houlihan, vice principal, research and commercialisation, University of Aberdeen, UK.
Under the MoUs, a four-member steering committee each would be established to set research objectives and priorities.
Lauding the MoUs, Deora said the petroleum and natural gas sector in India was at a critical juncture. "For the Indian energy sector, we are committed to make all out efforts to increase our exploration momentum. Science and technology and its rapid advances will remain a crucial building block of this strategy."
He said the contribution of academia and the research and development institutions like Imperial College and the University of Aberdeen in furthering the gains in the oil sector of UK especially in relation to the North Sea was well documented. "The signing of these MoUs ... marks a significant breakthrough for the R&D needs of the Indian petroleum industry."
"We have identified the technology needs of our industry and matched them with the capability of these two institutions. The directorate general of hydrocarbons being the signatory on behalf of the Indian hydrocarbon industry, will help the entire petroleum sector of India to access the expertise available with you," Deora said.
He said "with the Imperial College there has been a historical connection as many Indian scientists and prominent persons, including the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, have been academically nurtured in this great institution.
"Therefore, it is indeed a particularly happy moment for me to be here today on the occasion of the signing of the MoUs."
Earlier in the day, Deora held a meeting with members of the Commonwealth Business Council on India's energy outlook.
He said he and Mohan Kaul, director general of the Commonwealth Business Council, had just discussed plans to host a major Commonwealth Oil and Gas Summit in India towards the end of this year.
Deora, who was on his way back to Delhi after holding roadshows in London and in the US to launch the sixth round of India's New Exploration and Licensing Policy, said, "the roadshows were very exciting and successful."
"Under the sixth round of India's New Exploration and Licensing Policy we have made major progress by announcing over 50 blocks of petroleum and ten blocks of coalbed methane exploration," said Deora.
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