India will host 22 African countries at the India-Africa Hydrocarbon Conference this week in New Delhi on Thursday and Friday; this will be the fourth edition of the conference.
Three conferences were earlier held in 2007, 2009 and 2011. India had invited 25 oil and gas-producing African countries to the conference. Of these, 22 have confirmed their participation. Nine countries will be represented at the ministerial level. These include Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Mauritius, Sudan and South Sudan.
Mozambique and South Africa will skip the conference, as their ministers are busy with the World Economic Forum at Davos, official sources said.
The government hopes to consolidate the discussions that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had with delegates at India-Africa Summit three months ago.
Of India’s top four sources of gas – Qatar, Nigeria, Australia and Equatorial Guinea – two are from Africa. In 2015, India’s gas imports from Africa doubled compared to 2013; India accounted for eight per cent of Africa’s gas exports in 2015, compared to four per cent in 2013, official sources said.
India is also a major exporter of refined petroleum products and Africa is the second largest destination for these products. Seventeen per cent of India’s refined products are headed for Africa. New Delhi expects this figure to rise to 20 per cent.
Apart from energy security, India hopes to nurture the growth of African hydrocarbon sector by providing its expertise in oil exploration, refining, consultancy, training and infrastructure development. Indian public sector company ONGC Videsh has significant investments in the African oil & gas sector, particularly in Sudan, South Sudan and Libya. However, India’s investments in Africa pales compared to China’s $25 billion in that continent’s oil & gas sector.
The total India-Africa trade has increased nine-fold from $8.2 billion in 2004 to $75 billion in 2014. New Delhi expects this to touch $100 billion in the next couple of years.