New Delhi, Jan 8 (GCCurrentAffairs) Despite crude oil prices rising to a three-month high of about USD 72 a barrel, Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Wednesday asserted that there is ‘no crisis’ and the government is taking all necessary steps.
“We are preparing to deal with any kind of situation…..,” Mr Pradhan told reporters here.
The statement from the Minister is considered significant as the Gulf region accounts for more than two-thirds of India’s oil imports.
Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia are India’s top crude suppliers.
Till some months back, India was the second-largest buyer of crude oil from Iran, after China. But the US sanctions leading to ban on oil imports from Iran has led India change the calculus.
To avoid any adverse impact from the US sanctions on Iran, India continued its imports from traditional suppliers Saudi Arabia and Iraq and also started importing more from Venezuela and the US.
There is ‘no crisis’, Mr Pradhan said adding that External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar has been interacting with his counterparts ministers in various countries in the Gulf region.
Answering questions, Mr Pradhan said things are being monitored at various levels including at the level of Prime Minister’s Office.
Dr Jaishankar has also held tele talks with his counterparts from UAE, Oman, Jordan and Qatar –
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Yusuf Alawi, Ayman Safadi and Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani respectively.
Sources said in his conversations with these leaders, Dr Jaishankar generally reaffirmed India’s “shared interest in the stability and security of the Gulf region”.
Iranian strikes on two US air bases following the killing of Iranian commander Maj General Qassem Soleimani have only escalated the situations.
Meanwhile, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) promised to keep supplies flowing to customers.
The retail pump prices of petrol in Delhi is Rs 75.74 per litre – the highest since November 2018 and diesel at Rs 68.79.
Sources said India spent $111.9 billion on oil imports in 2018-19, up from $87.8 billion in the previous fiscal.