India’s legitimate energy transactions should not be politicized: report

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India’s legitimate energy transactions should not be politicized and countries that are self-sufficient in crude oil or import it from Russia cannot credibly advocate restrictive trade, government sources said on Friday.

India needs to remain focused on competitive energy sources and welcomes bids from all oil producers as geopolitical developments have posed significant challenges to the country’s energy security, they said.

The strong defense of India’s oil imports from Russia comes amid mounting unrest among some Western powers over New Delhi’s hints at accepting Russia’s offer to sell crude at much cheaper prices.

Russia has made the offer to India and many other countries after the United States banned all Russian oil and gas imports last week over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

“India must continue to focus on competitive energy sources. We welcome such offers from all producers. Indian traders are also entering the global energy markets to explore the best options,” a source said.

The sources said that the rise in oil prices following the Ukraine conflict has added to India’s challenges and pressure for competitive sourcing has naturally increased.

“Oil self-sufficient countries or those that import themselves from Russia cannot credibly advocate restrictive trade. India’s legitimate energy transactions should not be politicized,” the source said.

Indian Oil Corporation reportedly bought three million (30 lakh) barrels of Russian crude at a reduced price last week.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday that India’s acceptance of Russia’s offer of discounted crude was not a violation of US sanctions against Moscow, but stressed that countries should also consider “where they stand.” want”, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

A spokesman for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday the UK wants every country to stop using Russian oil and gas as it funds President Vladimir Putin’s war machine.

The government sources cited above said Russia has been a marginal supplier of crude oil to India and supplies less than 1 percent of the country’s needs, adding that there is no agreement between governments on imports.

Geopolitical developments have posed significant challenges to India’s energy security. For obvious reasons, the country has had to stop sourcing from Iran and Venezuela, and alternative sources often come at higher costs, they said.

The sources said that Russian oil and gas is procured by various countries around the world, especially in Europe.

They said that 75 percent of Russia’s total natural gas exports go to OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) member countries in Europe such as Germany, Italy and France.

Countries like the Netherlands, Italy, Poland, Finland, Lithuania and Romania are also big importers of Russian crude, they stressed.

Recent Western sanctions against Russia have exemptions to avoid impacting energy imports from the country, and its banks, which are the main channels for European Union payments for Russian energy imports, have not been banned from SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications). . system, the sources pointed out.

India is heavily dependent on imports for its energy needs, as nearly 85 percent of its crude oil needs (five million barrels per day) must be imported.

Most of India’s imports come from West Asia (Iraq 23 percent, Saudi Arabia 18 percent, UAE 11 percent), the sources said, adding that the US has now also become a major source of crude oil for India (7, 3 percent). ).

Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MEA) spokesman Arindam Bagchi said Thursday that India, as a major oil importer, is reviewing all options at all times.

“India imports most of its oil needs, it is covered by imports. Therefore, due to this situation that we are in when importing our oil needs, we are always examining all the opportunities in the global energy markets,” he said at a press conference.

“Let me just emphasize that a number of countries are doing this, particularly in Europe, and for now I’ll leave it at that. We are a major oil importer and are reviewing all options at all points. We need the energy,” he said.

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