India’s Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) is planning to invest 2 trillion rupees ($24.2bn) on clean energy and decarbonisation projects, as it aims to achieve net-zero emissions by 2038, according to its chief executive, Arun Kumar Singh.

India's largest oil & gas producer is now swiftly scaling up its renewable capacity and aims to invest in multiple low-carbon projects.

"ONGC is actively exploring collaborations with leading players to leverage various low-carbon energy opportunities including renewables, green hydrogen, green ammonia and other derivatives of green hydrogen," Singh told a shareholder’s meeting in New Delhi, according to a Reuters news agency report.

The company had already outlined plans to scaling up its renewables portfolio to 10GW by 2030, even thought today the company has a mere 189MW of renewable power capacity.

One of the biggest project that ONGC has on the go so far is a 5GW solar energy project in Rajasthan, but the company is also hatching plans for investments in offshore wind, according to Singh.

Indian media reports suggest that the company is also scouting for a partner to set up a green ammonia project with capacity to produced 1m tonnes per year.

"We have financial muscle to invest both in hydrocarbons and new energy," Singh said, according to Reuters.

Carbon capture

ONGC also earlier stated that it was ramping up its focus “on research and development in carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) technologies to mitigate emissions from existing processes”.

The company's strategy states that it has aligned itself with India's ambitious goals to “curtail carbon emissions by 1 billion tonnes and simultaneously reduce carbon intensity by 45% by 2030”.

However, ONGC had reiterated that oil and gas exploration and production “will remain the cornerstone of its energy business".

Reducing emissions

ONGC has said it has cut the carbon emissions intensity of its operations by more than 12% since 2016.

India’s public-sector enterprises are under pressure from the government to scale down emissions and reduce their carbon footprints in line with global practices.

The government earlier unveiled a proposal that could compel oil refineries and fertiliser plants to use green hydrogen.

While ONGC has been predominantly focusing on its oil and gas operations, it has registered 15 clean development mechanism (CDM) projects with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change under the Kyoto Protocol as a part of its sustainability drive.

ONGC’s CDM portfolio is said to include several solar-power projects, along with plans for wind power and CCUS projects.

(This article appeared originally in Recharge's sister oil and gas publication Upstream).