India will use whatever “margin of persuasion” it has while talking to oil-producing nations to ensure that fuel prices they’re down in the country, Oil Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on October 29.
He added that India’s dependence on traditional energy sources such as gasoline and coal will be maintained for a long time and the transition to green energy sources will be orderly only if their prices are affordable.
In his speech at the Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue organised by the Indian Navy, Puri said: “As a minister, the government is very price sensitive. And I can tell you, with complete confidence, that we will use whatever margin of persuasion we have, bilaterally with my counterparts, or multilaterally or plurilaterally, to ensure that prices go down.”
A week ago, the minister had said that India is looking to unite public sector companies (PSUs) and private sector refineries to seek better deals to import crude oil from Saudi Arabia and other nations.
Rising international oil prices to a multi-year high of $85 a barrel have sent local retail prices for gasoline, diesel, and LPG to record highs.
India, which imports 85 percent of its oil needs and is the world’s third-largest energy-importing and consuming country, has been pushing producers to increase production to help stabilise rates at affordable levels.
The minister also said: “We are going to transition to green and sustainable energy very quickly, but our dependence on traditional energy is going to last a long time. Let’s not make mistakes on that.”
“If we don’t get the right price, and if we don’t allow access to energy at affordable prices, we are going to have a problem ensuring that the transition from here to green energy is orderly,” he said.
India is the only country where, given that per capita energy consumption is a third of the world average, the growth will be exponential in terms of energy requirement, he mentioned.
It has a positive and a negative side, Puri said.
If the prices of the main producers remain high and no more oil is put on the market, at some point it will affect us, added the minister.
Currently, India’s gasoline and diesel consumption is 20 percent and 12-14 percent higher than before the Covid-19 pandemic, respectively, he claimed.
“This means that the economy is running on all six cylinders,” he added.