India Nudges Russia To Get OPEC To Price Crude Oil At Reasonable Rates
Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan with Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Yury Trutnev during a meeting in Moscow on Thursday. (Photo: PTI)

India Nudges Russia To Get OPEC To Price Crude Oil At Reasonable Rates

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India has nudged Russia to use its influence on the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to balance the global oil market, ensuring adequate supply with responsible and reasonable crude oil prices.

Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, on a three-day visit to Moscow, met his Russian counterpart Alexander Valentinovich Novak to review “the entire spectrum of oil and gas cooperation,” Pradhan said in a tweet after the meeting.

India, the world's third-largest oil consumer, has been pressing OPEC on responsible pricing of oil and gas, saying the volatility in rates are far detached from market fundamentals and are hurting importing nations. Russia is collaborating with OPEC in fixing oil production quota with a view to control the crude oil prices.

India imports over 83 percent of its crude oil needs. Of the total crude oil imported, about 85 percent of comes from OPEC nations. Also, 80 percent of gas imports come from the countries in the energy grouping.

India believes the OPEC has a major role in shaping oil prices and availability, and the current rates dent economic development of many countries as well as threaten the already fragile world economic growth.

Pradhan also discussed with Novak interest of Indian firms in investing more in Russian oil and gas fields. He also sought Russian investment in Indian oil and gas exploration and production, oil refining, petrochemicals and LNG import facilities.

On Thursday, Pradhan met officials of Russian oil firm Rosneft to discuss collaboration between the two nations. A Rosneft-led consortium had in 2017 bought Essar Oil that operates 20 million tonne refinery at Vadinar and over 5,500 petrol pumps in the country, for $12.9 billion. Essar Oil has since been renamed Nayara Energy.

Pradhan is in Moscow ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Russia. Modi will be the chief guest at this year's Sept. 4-6 Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok. Modi would also meet the Russian President Vladimir Putin at the annual summit.

India is keen on sourcing one million barrels per day of oil and oil-equivalent gas from Russia and had identified Sakhalin-3 in the Far East Vankor in East Siberia, and Terbs and Titov oilfields in Timan Pechora regions as fields for potential collaboration. However, it has so far been unsuccessful in its attempts.

ONGC Videsh Ltd., the overseas arm of Oil & Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. already has 20 percent stake in Sakhalin-1 oil and gas field in Far East Russia. In 2009, it acquired Imperial Energy, which has fields in Siberia for $2.1 billion.

Russia is wooing Indian investments in its Far East region ahead of Modi's Vladivostok visit to balance China's expanding presence in the resource-rich region.

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