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oil producers: Oil producers need to show sensitivity towards consuming nations: Hardeep Singh Puri


With surging oil prices posing fresh challenges to importing nations around the world, Petroleum Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Tuesday urged oil producers’ cartel OPEC to show sensitivity towards consuming countries to avoid economies slipping into recession and slowdown. Puri met OPEC Secretary General Haitham Al Ghais on the sidelines of the ADIPEC conference in Abu Dhabi to discuss the emerging oil scenario.

“Discussed the global energy scenario in my meeting with OPEC SG,” he said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. “India imports about 60% of its crude oil worth $101 billion & other Petroleum products from OPEC members. I highlighted how ensuring access to affordable energy is a must for social upliftment.”

India imports more than 85 per cent of its oil needs. While the surge in oil prices in the last couple of months has not pinched the consumers as state-owned fuel retailers continue to sell petrol and diesel at below cost, it has threatened to upset the budget and indirectly fuel inflation.

“During pandemic, when crude oil prices crashed, the world came together to stabilize the prices to make it sustainable for the producers. Now, as the world is at cusp of economic recession & slowdown, oil producers need to show same sensitivity towards the consuming countries,” Puri said.

International oil prices had dropped to USD 20 per barrel as the outbreak of the pandemic pummelled demand. Oil prices stayed below USD 50 for the remainder of 2020. They came back to USD 60-70 a barrel comfort zone of both producers and consumers in 2021 but rose sharply towards the end of the year as clouds of war in Ukraine loomed. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine fuelled a surge in oil prices.

To counter the lower demand-infused slump in oil prices, OPEC and its allies such as Russia cut production in 2020 and have continued to moderate output. This has helped oil prices rise. Brent, the world’s most popular benchmark, was trading above USD 90 per barrel on Tuesday. “Also took the opportunity to discuss how it’s the sovereign right of the oil producing & exporting countries to decide the production capacity, but, all of this is subject to the doctrine of consequences – intended & unintended,” Puri said.

Speaking at a session at the conference, the minister discussed how the growth-energy correlation is evident in India as it is now the world’s third-largest energy consumer.

“Even when the world was hit by energy crisis & energy prices skyrocketed in developing & developed countries, India under the leadership of PM @narendramodi Ji ensured that fuel prices did not rise by reducing excise duties & state VAT on two occasions,” he said. “India’s energy demand will continue to provide fuel for future economic growth, as it is bound to grow exponentially: India is world’s 3rd largest consumer of oil, 3rd largest LPG consumer, 4th largest LNG importer, 4th largest refiner, 4th largest automobile market.”

As India continues on a high trajectory of growth spurred by rapid urbanisation and industrialization to become a USD 5 trillion economy by 2025, the country may be providing around 15 per cent of global growth in 2023, he added.


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