As Scarcity Of Water Limits India's Fracking Potential, The Country Looks To The US For LNG Exports

 @David_Kashi on August 06 2013 10:20 AM
Kerry and Moniz
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on his first visit to India as secretary, with U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz (r.), at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, June 24, 2013 REUTERS/Jacquelyn Martin/Pool

India's shale gas could be an answer to the country's growing energy demand, but limited (and diminishing) water resources may prevent widespread implementation of the controversial gas-extraction technique called fracking, The Australian reported Tuesday.

India’s lack of water is a “red flag” in the development of the domestic gas, as fracking is a water-intensive process, said The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), a New Delhi think tank. The country would be better off buying more natural gas from Australia, the Middle East and the U.S., the group said.

Indeed, India has expressed interest in the U.S.’ recent gas revolution and is counting on U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas. India became the world's sixth-largest importer of LNG in 2011 and is the fourth-largest energy consumer in the world after the United States, China and Russia, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

“As India's energy needs continue to rise and the U.S. looks to expand the marketplace for its vast cache of energy resources, our partnership stands to be strengthened even further,” Nirupama Rao, Indian ambassador to the U.S., wrote in an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal in April.

U.S.-India relations have grown over the years, reaching a major turning point in 2006 when the U.S. reversed a three-decades-old nuclear nonproliferation policy.

Just last month, Secretary of State John Kerry made a state visit to India to hold high-level talks with the Indian administration, bringing along U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz.

“A boost in LNG exports would have many positive effects on both the U.S. and Indian economies,” Ambassador Rao said. “For the U.S. it would help create thousands of jobs … For India, it would provide a steady, reliable supply of clean energy … reliable energy to a greater share of our population.”

Echoing Rao’s sentiments, Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., said that LNG exports to India will create an opening for a more intensified relationship and help broaden trade, which would strengthen “converging security concerns.”

Speaking at the Center for Strategic International Studies in Washington, D.C., last month, Boustany advocated for the exports of LNG, especially as his state, Louisiana, holds one of the only LNG-exporting terminals that is allowed to export to countries with which the U.S. does not have a free trade agreement.

Ahead of Kerry’s visit, Boustany issued a statement promoting LNG trade with India. “I encourage Secretary Kerry to reinforce the importance of this trade relationship between our governments. It continues to be in the best interest of both countries,” he said.

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