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India will work with China on OPEC's 'Asian Premium' issue: Pradhan

Monday, April 16, 2018
By Diwakar Gopavajhala

Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has said India will coordinate with China and other Asian countries to voice against the "Asian Premium" being charged by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Taking the initiative forward, the minister said, Indian Oil Corporation chairman Sanjiv Singh will coordinate with the head of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) to chalk out the strategy that would result in getting better price from OPEC countries.      "India or China, Japan and Korea- Asian counties are the primary consumers of the energy market today."

"Why we have to give Asian premium? That is the issue we are raising and when we met on the sidelines of International Energy Forum with CNPC chairman, I proposed to coordinate with China and all these consuming countries in a bigger way," Pradhan told PTI yesterday.

"We have nominated our IOC chairman Sanjiv Singh to coordinate on behalf of Indian energy industry with other major players and specifically with his Chinese counterpart CNPC Chairman Wang Yalin.

There will be meetings, there will be consensus to put a point of view in front of the oil producing countries (OPEC) that we must get reasonable and responsible price for our consumption," the minister said.

Asian Premium is the extra charge being collected by OPEC countries from Asian countries when selling oil, and India has been voicing its dissent against this practice.
India sources about 86% of crude oil, 75% of natural gas and 95% of LPG from OPEC member nations.

To a query, the oil minister said, the bombing on Syria may result in pressure on international crude prices and for the long term gains India should develop alternate fuels for its consumption.

"In the international commodity scenario when there is an intentional crisis, there is nothing we can do in short terms. But for long term we are opting for alternate fuel and alternate energy, conservation and efficiency of fuel."

"All these are under process. But for short term when there is a crisis in international market, the nature of the industry since inception is that we have to face the pinch," he said.

He said the daily pricing of petrol and diesel is yielding good results and there are no plans of reviewing the system.

Refuting allegations that the centre directed oil companies not to increase prices in view of Assembly polls, Pradhan said, "The government has nothing to do with price mechanism. Oil companies are independent and autonomous to do their (price) mechanism."

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