Dharmendra Pradhan, India’s oil minister (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg)

India Seeks OPEC’s Commitment On Sustainable Oil Prices 

India, the world’s third-largest importer and consumer of oil, has sought a commitment from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries to ensure sustainable prices.

Oil and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said at the seventh international seminar of the OPEC in Vienna today that the pricing of oil and gas is susceptible to geopolitics, hindering sustainability. “It’s time to move to responsible pricing, balancing the interests of producers and consumers. We also need to move to a transparent and flexible market for oil and gas.”

Brent crude prices have surged since November 2016 — hitting a four-year peak of $80 per barrel — when the OPEC imposed production cuts. This adversely impacted its import bill and trade deficit. Indian oil marketing companies subsequently hiked the prices of petrol and diesel for 16 consecutive days in May in the range of Rs 3.22-3.99 per litre.

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The minister also said that he isn’t for prices as low as $30 per barrel. “The prevailing prices dent our fiscal balance and undermine our development. OPEC as the predominant supplier must maintain supply equilibrium.”

“It's in the interests of the producers that other economies grow steadily and rapidly to ensure growing energy markets,” Pradhan said.

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