New Delhi, Oct 20: India has told major oil-producing nations, in no uncertain terms, that high prevailing oil prices were unsustainable and lowering of energy prices was the only option to speed up post-pandemic recovery.
Addressing the ongoing India Energy Forum by CERAWeek, Petroleum Minister Hardeep Puri on Wednesday said that if energy prices were not brought under control, global economic recovery could be fragile. “Prices have to be predictable, dependable, and stable. This may also impact the producers in the long run. OPEC+ countries should factor in the sentiments of the consuming countries,” he said.
The rise in global oil prices for the past few months has already resulted in fuel prices in India shooting up and reaching historic high levels. Not only have auto fuels piped natural gas (PNG), and compressed natural gas (CNG) prices have risen to the highest levels ever because of supply regulations maintained by oil-producing nations. The import bill of these items has almost gone up by almost three times in last quarter compared to last year’s corresponding quarter.
“The global economy needs clean, affordable, reliable, sustainable energy to speed up the post-pandemic recovery. We need to accept that the world needs a reliable supply of oil and gas until we can build new energy infrastructure,” Puri said.
He also reiterated Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement that India should endeavor to become an energy-independent country by 2047, the 100th year of India’s independence. “We will do whatever it takes to increase exploration and production in India,” he said while emphasizing how ramping up domestic production is a priority of the country.
“I hope our friends in OPEC+ will factor in the sentiment that is being echoed. Whilst we are trying to ensure that economic activity accelerates, the fact is that high (oil) prices undermine it. If economic activity slows down, then demand for oil and gas will also,” Puri said.
At another session with OPEC Secretary-General, Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, Petroleum Secretary, Tarun Kapoor also expressed his concern at high energy prices suggesting that it was not good for both producers and consumers.
Kapoor said that the high prices will make India want to rethink its energy transition plans where natural gas was supposed to act as a bridge fuel from more polluting coal.
“OPEC can very easily raise production and gain the confidence of consumers. If the sellers don’t come to help, then the reliability goes away. The thinking right now is whether we can rely on any imports at all,” he said.