Vice President addresses First Convocation ceremony of Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy (IIPE)

New Delhi: Vice President, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu today 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 percent 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.

Following is the full text of the speech:

“Sisters and brothers,

I am indeed honoured to be here for the First Convocation ceremony of the Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy (IIPE) in Visakhapatnam.

At the outset, I wish to congratulate all the graduating students for acquiring a degree of high contemporary relevance from this institution. My best wishes to all of you as you mark an important milestone in your journey of learning. I would like to convey my appreciation to the teachers who nurtured the students to be proficient in their disciplines and imparted the necessary skills to make them competent professionals.

Sisters and brothers,

We are meeting at a difficult time when the world is undergoing another wave of the pandemic. The Governments at the Centre and in various states are taking all measures to prevent the spread of the virus, including the implementation of the world’s largest vaccination drive. It is imperative that we complement these efforts as responsible citizens and do our bit in protecting ourselves and our community.

I call upon civil society groups, students, medical professionals and the government 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. Indeed, vaccination can save lives and those harboring doubts must shed their hesitancy and get vaccinated at the earliest.

Friends,

It is truly a matter of delight for me to attend the first convocation of this institute. I remember that the foundation stone for the campus at Vangali village was laid by me as the then Minister for Urban Development along with the then Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

I have been informed that the campus could not be shifted to the new premises due to some legal issues. However, I am glad to know that with the concerted efforts of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, the Government of Andhra Pradesh and the institute, things are looking bright and soon, the institute is likely to be shifted to the new campus.

Sisters and brothers,

Petroleum and its byproducts have played a critical role in propelling the progress of the world in modern times. From the discovery of the first oil reserves in Digboi, Assam in 1889, the industry has seen a phenomenal rise in India, greatly aiding the country’s progress post-independence.

India today is the third-largest consumer of crude oil in the world. While petroleum comprises an important component of India’s energy mix, we are still import-dependent for more than 80 percent of our oil needs. It is indeed important to focus on increasing indigenous crude oil production and reducing imports to not only save precious foreign exchange but also to ensure energy security.

With increasing population, urbanization and industrialization, the use of petroleum products is only expected to increase. For India, the 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.

This highlights the importance of local exploration of petroleum and shifting to alternative sources. To this end, the government’s policy reforms such as Hydrocarbon Exploration Licensing Policy (HELP) aim at increasing domestic production, liberalizing exploration of new sedimentary basins, including ultra-deepwater blocks.

In this quest for ‘Atma Nirbharta’ in energy security, institutions like IIPE have a central role to play. As a dedicated university for petroleum research, IIPE should take the lead in two aspects: One, in bridging the supply gap of skilled manpower for the Petroleum Sector and two, to aim for excellence in research of petroleum and its by-products. It was thus duly recognized as an Institution of National Importance in 2017, and IIPE should live up to that expectation in the years ahead.

Overall, there is a need to invest in research institutes in a big way and create the ecosystem for innovation to thrive and help the country to become ‘energy secure’ in the coming years.

Sisters and brothers,

As we strive for excellence in the hydrocarbons’ research, it is important to promote ‘industry-institute’ linkages to boost R&D outcomes. Sponsored research, collaboration and consulting with industries are integral to today’s R&D landscape and institutes in this area should explore opportunities with all prominent private players. I am happy to know IIPE has collaborated with oil majors in the country such as HPCL, IOCL and even entered into MoUs with foreign universities to pursue joint research.

More such mutually beneficial tie-ups between academia and industry must be explored. In addition, bottlenecks in our patenting regime must be resolved, Ph.D. students must be encouraged to undertake research on problems faced by the industry. Such a move towards partnership will also bring a multi-disciplinary approach into academic research, which is the aim of National Education Policy 2020.

Sisters and brothers,

Fossil fuels, despite having driven the world’s economic engines for a long time, have a big downside. Combustion of these fuels emits pollutants, whose deleterious effects on the planet have been well documented.

The potential of small and renewable sources of energy needs to be fully tapped as part of the efforts to reduce the use of fossil fuels. I am happy to note that solar, wind, small hydro, and tidal energies are being well explored and their costs also have been coming down over the years.

Thus, as the world is looking for clean and sustainable energies, institutes specializing in energy should also seek to diversify their portfolio by adopting a multidisciplinary approach to energy and bringing out alternative solutions. Even a tiny improvement in the efficiency of harnessing green sources will deliver great benefits of scale to our economy and ecology.

India in particular is blessed to have ample sunlight throughout the year, good wind power potential in the Southern and Western Regions and inexhaustible tidal energy in the seas. A great start has been made with the formation of the International Solar Alliance, an initiative led by India.

While many institutions have been taking up renewable energy seriously, we must also invest in training the workforce with the latest technologies in the renewable sector. This will open up great employment opportunities while also driving the green energy sector.

Universities must also take up research work and projects which have a component of renewable energy research. While IIPE is presently offering Petroleum Engineering and Chemical Engineering at UG levels and Ph.D., I am happy to note that the institute is planning to promote research in alternative energy sources.

Sisters and brothers,

I am confident IIPE, a young institution as it is, will show the way forward by becoming an exemplar in the domain of energy research. Despite being a new institution, IIPE, has shown good promise already due to the untiring efforts of the administration, faculty and most importantly, its students. My appreciation and best wishes to all of you for your future endeavors!

Once again, I am very happy to be present at the First Convocation of this promising National Institute. On this momentous occasion, I once again congratulate the graduating students for acquiring their coveted degrees, prizes and medals.

Thank you all.

Namaskar. Jai Hind.”

 

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