By the Numbers: India’s Energy Consumption

The data driving Asia

India’s consumption of Iranian oil has been an issue of global concern as the United States strives the strengthen sanctions against the Middle Eastern nation. Recently, the Indian government announced that it would continue importing oil from Iran. This decision, to the dismay of much of the international community, represents the nation’s growing need for energy, as the nation’s economy continues to steadily grow.

India is the fourth largest consumer of energy in the world. Despite its extensive need of energy, it has been unable to develop its own energy production capabilities sufficiently and therefore relies heavily on imports to meet its energy demands. Here are India’s energy challenges by the numbers:


Estimated barrels per day (BPD) India imported in the past year from Iran, a 43% decrease from the previous year. This decline is largely due to the insecurity of oil delivery from Tehran which has been denied insurance due to sanctions. India has had to find other sources for oil, as 80% of the nation’s oil consumption is imported, 61% of which comes from the Middle East.

Data Source: Energy Information Agency. Prepared by the CSIS Wadhwani Chair in U.S.-India Policy Studies.

Data Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration based on 2011 data. Rendered by the CSIS Wadhwani Chair in U.S.-India Policy Studies.


The global rank of India’s coal reserves. Yet mining and transportation problems have left India unable to capitalize on their natural resource. In 2011, India still imported an estimated 11% of its coal consumption. Mining companies are regularly unable to meet their production goals and even the coal that is mined often cannot be delivered due to an inefficient rail and transport infrastructure.  Additionally, concerns have been raised about the impact on the environment and on farmers living near mining sites.


Total sunny days in India per year according to the IEA. India’s climate makes solar power an extremely appealing prospect for energy development. The government launched Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) in 2010 with the goal of developing 20 GW grid-connected Photovoltaics (PV) and 2 GW off-grid PV by 2022. New Delhi hopes that the diversification of energy, including renewables will give more Indians access to electricity.


India’s position among the largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) importers in the world. Until 2004, India produced all of its own LNG; in 2009, 21% of India’s total natural gas was imported (India only imports LNG and not liquefied petroleum gas). Importing is a significant financial burden, as imported LNG generally costs twice as much as domestically produced LNG. The prices of LNG are only increasing, as more nations are turning to the energy source. Recently, GAIL India Ltd reserved LNG at a proposed LNG plant in Maryland within the United States  that will not actually start producing until 2017.

.58 Ton of Oil equivalent (TOE) per capita

Per capita use of energy in India; this number compares to a global average of 1.8 toe/capita. This figure is expected to grow, as an emerging young and prosperous generation is demanding access to increased amounts of energy.  In 2006, India’s planning commission predicted energy demand by 2032 to increase threefold from current levels. India’s production and infrastructure capacity cannot match these expectations. Improved processes of extraction and refinement as well as port and train systems will be crucial to India’s development.


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