To help contain the country’s rising energy import bill and initiate institutional hand-holding of public sector units (PSUs) by researchers, a Centre of Excellence in oil, gas and energy has been set up IIT-Bombay (IIT-B). The centre has come up amid talks of foreign investment in the oil and gas sector by Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan.
The centre will collaborate with six PSUs of oil and gas sector — Oil India Ltd, Oil and Natural Gas Corp, Gas Authority of India Ltd, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited and Indian Oil Corporation — and Engineers India Limited to conduct research projects “from lab to implementation-ready stage in mission mode”. The PSUs will also be responsible for the centre’s funding.
“India’s energy import bill is rising and proving unsustainable. We need to secure energy resources and find more energy resources in India. The centre will deliberate on the implementation idea of non-conventional ideas,” said nuclear physicist Dr Anil Kakodkar, under whose chairmanship the first meeting of the governing council of the centre was held on November 7. Kakodkar was also part of a high-level committee appointed by the Petroleum Ministry.
The idea to set up the centre was mooted by Pradhan during his visit to IIT-B in December 2017, as per a statement by IIT-B.The MoU was signed earlier this year.
Kakodkar said, “The idea is to try and see if artificial intelligence, digital refineries and other concepts can be applied to the sector to create leadership in this domain. Energy equivalent for biomass is significant. Can we derive a significant part of our energy needs through biomass?… The centre will identify areas and projects based on industry needs. The advisory council includes people from industries. We will look at short term problems.”