The latest edition of India's strategic hydrocarbon event — Petrotech-2019 — takes off on Sunday in the National Capital Region. The biennial event, expected to see participation from 70 countries, comes at a time when India is seeking from the US an extension of waiver on oil imports from Iran while also trying to align with consumer countries.
The waiver from American sanctions —given to eight nations: India, China, Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey — expires in March. Major consumers in Asia are also likely to highlight the contentious issue of "Asian premium" before global groups like the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec).
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will formally inaugurate the meet on Monday. The event is expected to see participation of over 7,000 delegates from over 70 nations - including policy makers, management experts, scientists and service providers.
At least 86 eminent speakers will address the three-day event. Traditionally, the key highlight of the event used to be an inspirational talk by a renowned figure from international oil and gas sector. This tradition was broken in 2016 when an inspirational talk was given by Brahma Kumari Shivani, member of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University, to global hydrocarbon experts.
This year, the motivational speech is being delivered by Delhi-based magician-cum-mentalist Karan Singh. Over the last 13 editions, Petrotech has been addressed by various international leaders like global energy scholar Daniel Yergin and Abdallah S Jum'ah, former head of Saudi Aramco, the world's largest producer of crude oil.
The Conference will host two ministerial sessions and a CEOs' Conclave with participation from overseas ministerial delegations and top global oil and gas executives.
India, along with other petroleum importing countries, is likely to highlight the issue of "Asian premium" once again at the event. Indian leadership feels the Asian countries were paying a price of up to $6 a barrel more than the US or the European refiners to the West Asian oil producers. This is termed Asian premium. China and India, the world's largest and third-largest consumers, respectively, have flagged the issue at many international platforms.
Energy ministers from at least 15 countries have confirmed their presence. These include UAE, Iraq, Qatar, Nigeria, Russia, Columbia, Sudan, Uganda and Kazakistan among others. However, names of the top business leaders participating in the event are yet to be confirmed by the organisers. Apart from this, Opec Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo, International Energy Forum Secretary General Sun Xiansheng and International Gas Union President David C Carroll will be participating in the event.
The exhibition, along with the conference, will also see participation from 13 country pavilions and about 750 exhibitors from over 40 countries, with special focus on Make in India.