India asks S Arabia to up oil supply

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Jun 15 2012, 10:01am hrs
With the US increasing pressure on India to cut oil imports from Iran, the country is looking at alternative sources to fulfill the needs of its growing energy sector.

Indias petroleum and natural gas minister minister S Jaipal Reddy has sought an additional 5 million tonne of crude oil and 1.5 million tonne of liquified petroleum gas (LPG) from Saudi Arabia to reduce dependency on Iran. The request was made during his meetings with different countries at the 5th OPEC International Seminar in Vienna.

The wide-ranging talks with Iran, Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Qatar were aimed at enhancing mutual cooperation in the oil and gas sector. The talks focused on sourcing more crude, LNG, LPG and promoting investments in the hydrocarbon sector, Reddy said in an official statement.

During 2011-12, the country imported around 32 million tonne crude from Saudi Arabia, the largest crude oil supplier to the country. Despite global pressure, India continues to import around 12 million tonne crude from Iran, the second largest crude supplier to the country. However, there is a realisation that Iranian imports would have to be brought down gradually.

As part of the strategy to explore new markets to meet its energy deficit, India is also looking at increasing crude imports from countries such as Algeria and Qatar. A wider cooperation is expected with these two countries that could provide India access to larger quantities of oil and gas.

Reddy said India had also expressed interest in investing in Algerias upcoming LNG sector. State-owned gas transportation firm GAIL is already in talks with Sonatrach for tying up LNG imports from Algeria.

During 2011-12, India imported 6.41 million tonne crude oil from Qatar. The two sides have also discussed a long-term LNG contract between Petronet LNG (PLL) and RasGas for another 3.5 million tonne of LNG. PLL also has a long-term contract with RasGas for 7.5 million tonne per annum for its Dahej terminal.