The Vice President, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu called for increasing indigenous production of crude oil through strong R&D efforts to ensure energy security of the country. Calling for ‘Atma Nirbharta’ in the country’s energy mix, Shri Naidu suggested focussing more on increasing domestic exploration of petroleum, harnessing the full potential of renewable sources and aiming for excellence and innovation in the energy industry.

Noting that India is the world’s third largest consumer of crude oil and yet import-dependent for more than 80 per cent of its needs, Shri Naidu underlined the importance of increasing production, not only to save foreign exchange but also to ensure energy security. He noted various policy reforms of the government such as the Hydrocarbon Exploration Licensing Policy (HELP) aimed at increasing exploration in new sedimentary basins.

The Vice President was attending the First Convocation ceremony of the Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy (IIPE) in Visakhapatnam. IIPE is a dedicated university for petroleum research and was recognized as an Institution of National Importance in 2017 through an Act of Parliament.

Noting the impact of population and industrialisation on increased energy demand, Shri Naidu said that ‘India’s primary energy demand is expected to grow at an average rate of more than 3% till 2045 as compared to less than 1% growth for the rest of the world.’ In this regard, Shri Naidu called upon IIPE and other energy institutes to bridge the supply gap of skilled manpower for the petroleum sector and build stronger industry-institute linkages with the prominent market players. He also suggested encouraging Ph.D. students to undertake research on problems faced by the industry and thus ‘bring a multi-disciplinary approach into academic research, which is the aim of National Education Policy 2020.’

Observing that India is blessed with ample renewable sources such as solar, wind and tidal power, the Vice President suggested fully tapping the potential of these sources of energy as part of the efforts to reduce the use of fossil fuels. To achieve this, he suggested institutes specialising in energy should also seek to diversify their portfolio and take up projects which have a component of renewable energy research. “Even a tiny improvement in the efficiency of harnessing green sources will deliver great benefits of scale to our economy and ecology”, he noted.

The Vice President expressed confidence that IIPE will show the way forward by becoming an exemplar in the domain of energy research. He appreciated the efforts of the administration and complimented the graduating students for their achievements. Shri Naidu presented awards to the gold medalists from the batches 2016-20 and 2017-21.

On this occasion, the Vice President called for caution and utmost adherence to COVID-19 protocol as the country is going through the third wave of the pandemic. Appreciating the Government’s efforts for vaccination, he called upon civil society groups, students, medical professionals and others to reach out to as many people as possible and encourage people to get vaccinated. “It is now well established that vaccination drastically reduces the need for hospitalisation, including admission to ICU. Vaccination can indeed save lives,” he observed.

Shri Rameswar Teli, Union Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Labour and Employment, Dr. Seediri Appala Raju, Andhra Pradesh Minister for Animal Husbandry and Fisheries & Dairies Development, Prof. P.K. Banik, President of the Board of Governors, IIPE, Prof VSRK Prasad, Director, IIPE, Vice Chancellors of various Universities, other dignitaries and the graduating students participated in the event.