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Obama inks energy agreements in India

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
by Staff Writers
New Delhi (UPI) Nov 9, 2010
As U.S. President Barack Obama wrapped up his trip to India, the two countries agreed to set up a green energy research and development center in India.

With each country funding $5 million for the next five years, the center is expected to focus on solar energy, energy efficiency, biofuels, clean coal technology and an integrated gasification combined cycle project that turns coal into synthesis gas.

The concept of such a center was first agreed upon during Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's state visit to Washington last November.

It represents the U.S. government's second joint green energy research and development agreement, reached with China during Obama's visit to Beijing, which also occurred last November.

Speaking to India's Parliament Monday, Obama said, "We can pursue joint research and development to create green jobs; give India more access to cleaner, affordable energy; meet the commitments we made at Copenhagen and show the possibilities of low-carbon growth."

Obama's visit to India also marks the beginning of cooperation between the two countries on nuclear power.

"With my visit, we are now ready to begin implementing our civil nuclear agreement," Obama told Parliament. "This will help meet India's growing energy needs and create thousands of jobs in both of our countries."

The agreement between the two countries for cooperation on peaceful uses of nuclear energy was signed in October 2008.

During Obama's visit, India and the United States also signed an agreement on shale gas cooperation that includes a resource assessment in India to be conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey, technical studies on shale gas exploration in India and training of Indian personnel in shale gas exploration and development.

Earlier this month, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Murli Deora said that there is a "huge" tract of Indian sedimentary areas that is unexplored, "creating opportunities for global players" to venture into the shale sector, The Hindu newspaper reports.

Because India imports 75 percent of its crude oil needs, Deora said it is important to "vigorously" explore the Indian Sedimentary Basin to bridge the gap.

India aims to launch the first round of auction of shale gas-bearing areas by the end of 2011.

In a joint declaration issued Monday, Singh and Obama reaffirmed their "strong commitment to taking vigorous action to address climate change, ensure mutual energy security, and build a clean energy economy that will drive investment, job creation and economic growth throughout the 21st century."

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