NEW DELHI: India’s new petroleum minister, Hardeep Singh Puri, has pledged to work with oil producers in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to reduce volatility in oil markets and make crude prices affordable.
Seasoned diplomat Puri, who took charge of India’s petroleum ministry last week, spoke to Saudi petroleum minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman on Thursday a day after his conversation with minister of petroleum Ahmed Al Jaber. ‘UAE Industry and Managing Director of Abu Dhabi National Oil Co ADNOC).
“I expressed my desire to work with His Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz to bring more predictability and calm to the global oil markets, and also to see hydrocarbons become more affordable,” Puri tweeted after a phone conversation with his Saudi counterpart.
Relations between Riyadh and New Delhi have been strained this year after Puri’s predecessor Dharmendra Pradhan blamed production cuts by Saudi Arabia and others for pushing up oil prices.
India, the world’s third largest consumer and importer of oil, faces record retail prices for gasoline and diesel.
Puri said New Delhi would like to expand its relationship with Riyadh to “beyond the buyer-seller to see greater two-way investment.”
Saudi Arabia is India’s second-largest supplier of oil after Iraq.
Saudi Aramco is in talks to acquire a 20% stake in the petroleum-chemicals business of Relinace Industries, operator of the world’s largest refining complex.
Aramco and ADNOC are partners with Indian state-run refineries in a joint venture that plans to build a giant refining and petrochemical complex on the west coast of India.
ADNOC has also leased part of India’s strategic oil reserves.
(Reporting by Nidhi Verma; Editing by David Gregorio)