Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

PM Modi seeks payment mechanism to soften blow of oil imports

PM Modi Knew HAL Would Not Get Offset Contracts Says Congress Here are the key highlights of Modi's meeting with heads of oil and gas companies
Jean Garcia | 16 October, 2018, 07:37

"Though there is enough production, the unique features of marketing in the oil sector have pushed up the oil prices", a statement issued at the end of the meet quoted the prime minister as saying.

"Saudi Aramco's desire is to invest in consumer-facing segments such as retail fuels and petrochemicals, building an integrated downstream business in India as well as our commitment to invest in strategic storage", Falih said.

The meeting assumes significance as the U.S. sanction against Iran kicks-in on November 4 and India is dependent on imports for more than 80 per cent of its oil requirement.

Similarly, petrol prices in Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai also rose on Sunday - to Rs 88.18 in Mumbai, Rs 84.54 in Kolkata and Rs 85.99 per litre in Chennai. He also requested for a review of payment terms so as to provide temporary relief to the local currency.

Since India imports 83% of its oil, rupee depreciation adds to the government's worries.

The government is looking at private investment to raise domestic oil and gas production, which has stagnated for the last few years while fuel demand has been rising by 5-6 per cent annually.

Meanwhile, official sources said that Modi will meet the chief executives of major global and Indian oil and gas companies as the USA sanctions on Iran comes into effect from November 4, and as crude oil prices continue to be volatile.

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Falih said he told India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan that Saudi Arabia is committed to meeting its growing oil demand.

He, however, said the "pain" would have been "much louder" but the action by Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter, to invest in creating spare capacity was used to cushion price shocks.

The rupee, which is now Asia's worst-performing tender, has lost around 14 percent of its value against the American currency this year.

Mr Modi highlighted that the consuming countries face many other economic challenges including serious resource crunch due to rising crude oil prices.

"Prime minister cautioned producers like myself not to kill the hen that lays the golden egg", he said referring to consumers are the golden hen. "This will help stabilise the global economy which is on path of recovery".

Modi also asked global industry executives why they haven't committed much investment to the Indian upstream sector despite government reforming policy as per their suggestions in previous annual meetings, according to sources.

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