Washington, Mar 29 (PTI) The energy sector offers immense opportunities of cooperation between India and the US not only in the trade of natural resources, but also in drawing from each other’s financial sectors, a top Indian-American official has said. Also Read - Sadhguru Rides Over 10,000 Miles Exploring Spiritual America, a Look at His Mystical Journey

Having recently returned from India on his maiden trip, Neil Chatterjee, a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), said an enormous amount of money can be made in the Indian energy sector in the coming decades. Also Read - 'Free Julian Assange': Fashion Designer-Activist Vivienne Westwood Protests Inside Bird Cage Against Extradition of WikiLeaks Founder to US

“I think there are real opportunities for the US to work in a bilateral fashion, not just to sell our fuels, but technology and provide capital,” said Chatterjee, who is the first ever Indian-American to serve as FERC Commissioner. Also Read - Infectious Diseases Expert Anthony Fauci Calls Out 'Bizarre' Attacks of White House to Discredit Him

“USD 2.8 trillion needs to be invested in India’s energy generation, transmission, and distribution assets to modernise India’s grid,” he told PTI in an interview.

Noting that the energy cooperation between India and the US is a two-way street, he said America also had much to learn from the Indian experience.

Observing that the Indian government and the states have ambitious energy policy goals, he said FERC was looking forward to gathering insights from its Indian counterparts at Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) and from the government in implementing Indian energy policy objectives.

Chatterjee said the Trump administration was committed to supporting India’s efforts to increase the share of natural gas generation within its energy portfolio.

Two major US natural gas exporters Cheniere and Dominion have executed long-term supply contracts with the Gas Authority of India for a combined 280 billion cubic feet per year of US natural gas. The value of these two contracts alone is USD 32 billion.

Other US exporters are focused on the Indian natural gas market, as the International Energy Association projects India’s consumption of natural gas to increase an average of 4.6 per cent a year through 2040.

“The United States and India are also exploring formal frameworks that could catalyse bilateral government and private sector cooperation to enable more natural gas generation capacity and supporting infrastructure such as pipelines and import/export facilities,” he said.

After Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US last June, Indian refiners have announced more than 10 million barrels of crude oil purchases from America, he said.

Continued diversification of India’s oil sourcing to increase US oil imports will be a boon for American producers and exporters, Chatterjee said.

“It will also ensure greater energy security for India. I am proud to have played a small role in the increasing oil trade between the US and India. I was on US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s staff as he negotiated lifting the 40-year old ban on US crude oil exports with the Obama Administration in late 2015,” he said.

Chatterjee said that energy resources did not include only natural resource and commodities, but also a spectrum of components, services and finished products across the entire energy sector.

“The exchange of energy resources would be bilateral, as the United States energy sector will be an increasingly important market for Indian-manufactured products. Third, the US and India can draw on each other’s resources in the financial sectors to realise energy policy objectives,” he said.

India has ambitious goals for deploying renewables, even as it will continue to depend on coal fire generation, he said.

“They want to increase their usage of gas, but they have to figure out some challenges when it comes to building out basic infrastructure like transmission lines,” Chatterjee said, adding that there are immense opportunities and is optimistic about India’s future.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.