India: Saudi advice on using stored oil ‘undiplomatic’

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Indian Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Friday described the advice of his Saudi counterpart on using stored oil to tackle high crude prices as “undiplomatic”, The Times of India reported.

“That was in a way an undiplomatic answer by some of our old friends,” he said, “I politely disagree with that kind of approach.”

Pradhan added: “Certainly, India has its own strategy, when and how to use our own storage, and we are conscious about our interests.”

Reuters reported Pradhan criticising the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Saudi output cuts aimed at supporting prices, and suggested that India will have to look for energy alternatives to Gulf oil, its main source of crude oil.

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With India hard-hit by rising oil prices, Pradhan has repeatedly called on OPEC and its allies, known as OPEC+, to ease supply curbs.

Advising India, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman has suggested that it should turn to its strategic reserves filled with cheaper oil bought last year.

Reuters reported that India had asked refiners to speed up diversification and cut reliance on Middle Eastern oil, citing sources claiming that Indian refiners are planning to cut imports from Saudi Arabia by about a quarter.

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“Today, Iraq is the number one supplier of our requirement. We are taking a substantial amount from the UAE also. The UAE is a very reliable partner,” Pradhan noted, adding that Indian companies are free to buy oil from any country.

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