NEW DELHI: With crude oil prices having risen steadily over the last year and India’s current account balance beginning to show the strains of rising import costs, Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan is set to press for ‘responsible pricing’ at a crucial meeting of oil producing nations set to be held in Vienna on June 22.
Pradhan will be India’s representative at the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meet, which will deliberate on whether to continue the production cuts decided by OPEC and other oil exporters in 2017. India is likely to leverage its position as one of the largest oil consumers in the world.
Stating that the visit comes at a “crucial time when the global crude oil prices are at the highest since the peak of 2014”, the government said, “India’s engagement with OPEC is important as India sources about 82 per cent of crude oil, 75 per cent of natural gas and 97 per cent of LPG from OPEC member countries.”
Pradhan also pointed out that in official meetings with OPEC members, India has “told them that crude oil prices should be controlled, reasonable, responsible and should meet demand”.
Retail prices of petrol and diesel in India are currently ruling at around Rs 75 a litre and Rs 68 a litre. Pradhan stated out that these prices should not be out of reach of the common man.
“Why should the price go beyond $55 to $60 per barrel? India is consistent on that. Today’s oil prices are pinching us and creating problem for us. We will raise this issue in OPEC conference,” he said.