India plans to nearly double its oil refining capacity in the next five years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday, offering a much more aggressive timeline than previously despite the coronavirus pandemic blighting the economy.

The country’s energy minister was quoted http://www.ficci.in/ficci-in-news-page.asp?nid=23094 in June as saying India’s oil refining capacity could jump to 450-500 million tonnes in 10 years from the current level of about 250 million tonnes.

But addressing a petroleum university’s convocation, Modi said “work is being done to nearly double the country’s oil refining capacity in the next five years”.

The convocation was also addressed virtually by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, whose Reliance Industries Ltd operates the world’s biggest oil refinery in Modi’s home state of Gujarat.

Modi said India was also aiming to raise the share of natural gas in its energy-consumption mix by up to four times. The cleaner-burning fuel currently accounts for about 6% of the energy consumed in the country.

India would achieve its targets of increasing renewable energy capacity to 175 gigawatts by 2022 and 450 gigawatts by 2030 ahead of schedule, Modi added. The country had renewable energy capacity of about 75 gigawatts at the end of 2018. (Reporting by Abhirup Roy; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)

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