India asks Saudi Arabia to hike crude oil supply

February 23rd, 2012 - 5:33 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 23 (IANS) In a move seen to fill a possible cut in supplies from sanctions-hit Iran, India Thursday asked Saudi Arabia to raise supply of crude oil by 5 million tonnes every year.

“We have sought 5 million tonne of more crude oil from Saudi Arabia in 2012-13,” Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas R.P.N. Singh told reporters after a meeting with Saudi Arabia’s assistant minister for petroleum affairs Abdul Aziz Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz here.

Saudi Arabia is the largest supplier of crude oil to India. It supplied 27 million tonnes of crude oil in 2010-11. Iran is the second largest supplier with 17 million tonnes of annual supply.

India is under pressure from the US and European countries to cut oil buys from Iran, which is facing UN sanctions for its alleged nuclear programme.

The increase in crude oil supply from Saudi Arabia would help meet any shortfall from Iran. India depends heavily on the Gulf countries for its energy security.

“The Saudi side assured affirmative consideration of India’s request for larger quantities of crude oil and LPG while also agreeing to look into the issues raised by India relating to the hydrocarbon trade and investment between the two countries,” said an official statement released after the meeting.

India and Saudi Arabia Thursday held delegation-level talks on energy consultations, in which head of leading Indian and Saudi firms participated.

During the meeting, India invited Saudi participation in upcoming investment opportunities in its petroleum upstream and downstream sector, including petrochemical projects at Dahej, Gujarat, and Mangalore, Karnataka.

“An offer was made to the Saudi side for considering equity participation in these projects as a strategic investor,” the petroleum ministry said.

Other proposed investment opportunities such as Indian Oil Corporation’s LNG project at Ennore, Tamil Nadu, BPCL’s LNG terminal at Kochi, Kerala, HPCL’s grassroot refinery in Vizag, Andhra Pradesh, and IOC’s petrochemical plant at Paradip, Odisha, were also discussed, it said.

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