India’s largest oil explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has announced plans to invest Rs1tn ($12.1bn) by the end of 2030.

The state-controlled driller produces more than half of India’s oil and gas to significantly grow its renewable power portfolio to 10,000MW by 2030, up from 189MW at the end of March 2023. 

Speaking at a press briefing in Mumbai on Monday, ONGC chairman Arun Kumar Singh told audiences that the company’s green spending will focus on ammonia production and other non-variable renewable energies. 

“India will continue to grow in fossil fuel demand until 2040, but at the same time we have to step up our efforts for green energy,” he said, according to Bloomberg News. “We have to do this so that both worlds can co-exist.” 

The company plans to reach zero direct emissions by 2038. The company will not include scope 3 emissions from the oil and gas it sells in these targets. Oil and gas companies face criticism from environmentalists and NGOs for failing to include the responsibility for scope 3 emissions in targets. 

ONGC plans to continue investing in fossil fuels, including through its overseas arm ONGC Videsh which is considering bidding for blocks in Guyana

In its results for the fiscal year from July 2022 to June 2023, published on Friday, the company declared eight oil discoveries throughout the year, both onshore and offshore. Its capital spending plan of Rs301.25bn ($3.64bn) for the current fiscal year is almost all dedicated to the exploration and development of its oil and gas blocks. 

Energy transition in India 

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set a national goal for the country to become net zero by 2070. India was the fourth-largest CO₂ emitter in 2021 with a 10.5% increase in emissions when compared with 2020. 

Another Indian oil major, IndianOil and Reliance Industries, has also announced major green energy investments. Reliance Industries seeks to focus its efforts on gigafactories and blue hydrogen facilities. IndianOil has a series of targets, including 3GW of renewable energy and 0.6 million metric tonnes of biofuels by 2025.  

In a statement, IndianOil chairman Shrikant Madhav Vaidya: “While IndianOil is committed to energising India’s exponentially rising energy needs, we are also determined to be the flagbearer of India’s green energy transition.

“We are thus scaling up our green endeavours with a definitive focus and going forward; we will consolidate our green assets under one umbrella for better synergy.”

ONGC’s chairman predicts that his company will find the green energy transition “easier to do” than other companies.  

“Since we have cash flow […] we can take a little riskier position,” Singh said on Monday.