Shrikant Vaidya, Chairman, IOC, is of the view that demand for fuel in the country is so high that no single form of energy can meet all the demand, and so it has to be complemented and supplemented by all forms of energy.
With rising fuel costs come the need to move to renewable energy, Vaidya said.
"Eventually, we will be all-energy company. We are taking the right steps today. So, as and when these other forms of energy become dominant forces, we can scale up in no time. However, at the same time, the reality is that the demand for petroleum products is very high and oil will continue to dominate the scene for the automotive sector for at least (the next) two decades. That is what we have been seeing as a narrative in the last two days in the IHS as well," he added.
"We are investing in refineries because the country's demand is going up, and refineries take about five-six years to come up. So, we have to take action right now, so that the country's energy security is maintained," he said.
Biofuels is one area that the company is looking at very positively because it not only primes up the rural economy but also the entire economy, and it also is a greenfield, said Vaidya, adding that IOC has a basket of energy plays including solar, wind, and hydrogen.
Talking about the demand for various fuels, he said, demand has already touched pre-COVID levels — MS and LPG have surpassed pre-COVID levels by about 10 to 12 percent, while diesel is at pre-COVID level. Aviation is lagging behind, but now that domestic aviation has been fully opened up, "we expect that also to do well". So, maybe a quarter down the line all the refineries that are now running at about 90 percent capacity will be running at 100 per cent capacity, he said.
As for crude prices, it is anybody's guess when they will come down. But, everyone's waiting eagerly for some extra crude to come in via lifting of the embargo on crude supplies by OPEC and other countries, Vaidya said.
Vaidya said if more crude comes in, prices will soften. If that happens early, it would be good for the country, he observed.
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