India to join US in a co-ordinated release of crude oil from its strategic reserve storage; immediate retail price hike unlikely

India, the world’s third largest energy importing and consuming nation said it is closely monitoring the global energy markets to track any supply disruptions following the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and will support release of oil from strategic storages to cool prices.

International oil prices climbed to an over seven-year high of over $ 105 a barrel over concerns of supplies being disrupted as a result of Russia attacking Ukraine. The rates have cooled to below $ 100 as western sanctions against Russia kept out energy supplies.

“The Government of India is closely monitoring global energy markets as well as potential energy supply disruptions as a fall out of the evolving geopolitical situation,” an oil ministry statement said.

While supply routes remain open, prices are likely to pinch. Petrol, diesel and cooking gas (LPG) rates continue to be on the election-related freeze for nearly four months now but PSU oil firms are expected to pass on the elevated global oil prices to consumers soon after elections in Uttar Pradesh end next month.

It did not make any direct reference to consumer prices following the spike in international rates.

The US is trying to do a coordinated release with other consuming nations to cool rates again. “India is also committed to supporting initiatives for releases from Strategic Petroleum Reserves, for mitigating market volatility and calming the rise in crude oil prices,” it added.

Asia’s third largest economy had in November last year agreed to release about 5 million barrels of crude oil from its emergency stockpile in tandem with the US, Japan and other major economies to cool international oil prices. This was the first time ever that India, which stores 5.33 million tonnes or about 39 million barrels of crude oil in underground caverns at three locations on the east and west coasts, had agreed to release stocks for such purpose. That was when crude was at $ 82-84 per barrel.

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