Prime Minister Narendra Modi today, Monday October 15, met with global leaders of the energy sector to discuss the prevailing energy scenario, effects of US sanctions on Iran and volatile oil prices affecting economic growth.
In his interaction with the heads of oil and gas companies and organisations in New Delhi, PM Modi made a strong case for partnership between oil producing and consuming countries to reduce energy cost, media reports said.
The meet was part of 40 heads of top oil companies and organisations.
At the meeting that was attended chief executives of top oil companies and ministers from Saudi Arabia and the UAE, Modi asked foreign oil companies to ease payment terms and channel their investible surplus into commercial exploitation in the developing countries.
The Prime Minister underlined that oil consuming countries, due to rising crude oil prices, were facing many other economic challenges including serious resource crunch. India, which imports more than 80 percent of its oil imports, has been under pressure as crude oil prices have surged and the rupee weakened.
“The cooperation of the oil-producing countries would be very critical to bridge this gap,” a statement by Prime Minister’s Office said, outlining PM Modi’s four-point message to global leaders of the energy sector.
“Lastly and importantly, PM Modi requested for review of payment terms so as to provide temporary relief to the local currency,” the statement said.
Earlier, PM Modi highlighted the significant positioning of India in the oil and gas market and said the oil market was producer driven and quantity and prices were determined by oil producing countries.
Modi said that a partnership between oil producers and consumers should be formed on the lines of other sectoral markets. Modi noted that the oil market was producer-driven both in terms of quantity and price. He said that a partnership between oil producers and consumers would help stabilise the global economy.
“Though there is enough production, the unique features of marketing in the oil sector have pushed up the oil prices. The prime minister made a strong case for a partnership between the producers and consumers in the oil market, as it exists in other markets. This will help stabilise the global economy which is on path of recovery,” the statement said.
PM Modi underscored that India held a significant position in the oil and gas market. India is the third largest consumer of oil in the world.
The PM also spoke of higher acreage under exploration and sought cooperation of the developed countries, both in terms of technology and extension, of the coverage.
Modi sought greater participation of private companies in the distribution of the gas sector. Talking about technology, PM Modi said that there should be greater cooperation on the front of technology sharing among the countries for viable commercial exploitation of natural gas.
The rising crude oil prices have triggered a near-daily rise in fuel prices domestically and affected the value of rupee against dollar. The rupee has touched record low levels multiple times and lost over 15 per cent of its value against dollar this year.
The roundtable came on a day diesel price rose for the 10th consecutive day to wipe out all of the Rs 2.50 per litre cut in rates announced earlier this month through excise duty cut and oil company subsidy. A litre of diesel on Monday costs Rs 75.46 in Delhi, Rs 79.11 in Mumbai and Rs 79.80 in Chennai while petrol costs Rs 82.72 in Delhi, Rs 88.18 in Mumbai and Rs 85.99 in Chennai.
The Prime Minister in 2015 had set a target of reducing India’s oil dependence by 10 percent to 67 percent (based on import dependence of 77 percent in 2014-15) by 2022. Import dependence has only increased since then and the government is now looking for ways to raise domestic output.
Union ministers Arun Jaitley and Dharmendra Pradhan and NITI Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar were also present at the meeting. Senior Director at World Bank Riccardo Puliti also attended the meeting.
Heads of the International Gas Union, Gazprom, Vedanta, Reliance Industries, Indian Oil, Hindustan petroleum, Petronet LNG, American Gas Association were among those attended the meeting.
The gathering also included ministers from Saudi Arabia and UAE and CEOs and experts from organisations, including Saudi ARAMCO, ADNOC, BP, Rosneft, IHS Markit, Pioneer Natural Resources Company, Emerson Electric Company, Tellurian, Mubadala Investment Company, Schlumberger Ltd, Wood Mackenzie, World Bank, International Energy Agency (IEA), NIPFP, Brookings India and various Indian companies involved in both upstream and downstream operations.