India working on ways to release crude oil from strategic storages
India is working on ways to release crude oil from its strategic storages in tandem with other major economies to dampen prices, a top government official said on Monday.
The US had last week made the unusual request to some of the world’s largest oil-consuming nations, including China, India and Japan, to consider releasing crude stockpiles in a co-ordinated effort to lower global energy prices.
This after members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) and its allies rebuffed repeated requests to speed up their production increases.
“We are working on releasing stocks from our strategic reserves,” the official, who wished not to be named, said.
He did not give a timeline but said officials were in touch with other major oil users for a co-ordinated move.
India is the world’s third-largest oil consumer and importing nation and has been severely impacted by the relentless rise in international oil prices. Since the US move, global oil prices are on the decline.
Brent crude was trading at $78.72 per barrel, down from $81.24 a barrel 10-days back. On October 26, it had hit a multi-year high of $86.40.
Just like the US, it also believes that high prices are starting to produce unwanted inflation and undermine recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Retail petrol and diesel prices shot up to record levels earlier this month before the government cut taxes, costing it Rs 60,000 crore in revenue this year.
India has 5.33 million tonnes of underground crude oil storage at two places on the east and the west coast.
While China has said it is working on a crude release, Japan has also signalled its readiness.
Weeks after its second-highest-ranking official asked ONGC to give away its largest producing oil and gas fields to foreign companies, the petroleum ministry on Monday clarified that production from existing fields has to be increased through all means including technology and involvement of private sector companies in a transparent manner.