India presses OPEC for responsible pricing of oil

Vastavam web: India, the world’s third-biggest oil consumer, Wednesday pressed OPEC to move to responsible pricing of oil and gas saying the recent spike in rates are far detached from market fundamentals and are hurting importing nations. A combination of crude oil climbing to four-year high and rupee dipping to its lowest level against US dollar has sent retail petrol, diesel and cooking gas (LPG) rates to record high. The relentless price rise has wiped away tax cuts done by the government to give relief to consumers.

At the annual institutional dialogue between the world’s third-largest oil importer and the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan gave the cartel, which accounts for 45 per cent of the world output, a perspective of an importing country. India imports over 83 per cent of its crude oil needs. Of the crude oil imported, about 85 per cent of comes from OPEC nations. Also, 80 per cent of gas imports come from those countries.

India believes OPEC has a major role in shaping oil prices and availability and the current high oil prices dent the economic development of many countries and threaten already fragile world economic growth. Pradhan said he also expressed concerns on global trade practices limiting the affordability of energy. Barkindo, he said, reaffirmed India as an extremely important partner for OPEC and called for further strengthening India-OPEC relationship. The OPEC secretary general said Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter and the organisation’s kingpin, has assured that it is “committed, capable and willing” to ensure there will be no shortage in the oil market.

The government had on October 5 cut excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 1.50 per litre and asked oil PSUs to subsdise the two fuel by another Re 1. The twin move resulted in retail rates being cut by Rs 2.50 per litre. However, the relentless price hike has wiped away all cut benefits on diesel and most on petrol. While there was no change in prices on Wednesday, petrol in Delhi costs Rs 82.83 per litre and diesel is priced at Rs 75.69. Before the October 5 price cut, petrol in Delhi had hit an all-time high of Rs 84 per litre and diesel was at record Rs 75.45. This came down to Rs 81.50 per litre for petrol and Rs 72.95 in case of diesel on October 4.