Mumbai: Hardeep Singh Puri on Thursday took charge of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. He has relinquished the portfolio of civil aviation but still holds the Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry.
Puri succeeds Dharmendra Pradhan as India’s new petroleum and natural gas minister.
The minister was greeted by Pradhan on his arrival at the petroleum ministry. He was also accompanied by minister of state for petroleum Rameswar Teli.
Puri said that the focus of the ministry under him will be to increase domestic production of crude oil and natural gas and help country become Atmanirbhar.
He also said that in line with the vision to create gas based economy in the country he would see that its availability and use of clean fuel is encouraged.
The former diplomat also has a tough task at hand with the global oil prices surging amid supply constraints and demand hopes. Further the ever-increasing domestic petrol and diesel prices too would remain a key issue to deal with.
Pradhan, off late was urging global oil exporters including the OPEC to gradually do away with the production cuts and help lower the surging oil prices.
Another major task at hand for Puri would be the privatisation of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) which has been delayed due to initial subdued interest among the investor fraternity coupled with the pandemic-induced slowdown.
The challenge must not be much different from his experience with the inordinately delayed privatisation of Air India which he tried to achieve during his stint as the Civil Aviation Minister.