India targets Iran and Venezuela for crude imports to augment supply

India, the world’s third-largest energy-consuming and importing nation, is hoping on resumption of crude oil supplies from Venezuela and Iran as well as higher production from OPEC+ nations to help cool international oil prices that have hit multi-year highs.

It will also evaluate the Russian offer to sell crude oil at discounted prices after considering aspects such as insurance and freight required to move the fuel from the non-traditional supplier.

Replying to supplementaries during question hour in the Rajya Sabha, Oil Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said oil export from Venezuela and Iran had been hit due to sanctions. The two nations are among those with the highest oil reserves in the world and were significant suppliers to India before US sanctions halted purchases.

“It is our hope and expectation that oil, not only from Venezuela, but other countries under sanction, will become available,” he said. “I am hopeful that we will all use collectively, our margin of persuasion… to request the international community to make more oil available including from Venezuela”.

Indian oil companies will enter into agreements with Venezuela and “equally (with) Iran” no sooner their oil comes into the market, he said.

Stating that there are reports that the nuclear issue, which had led to sanctions on Iran, is likely to be resolved, the minister said “that will also bring more oil into the market.” He hoped that “apart from oil which will become available by countries who, hitherto, were not supplying on account of sanction, existing OPEC plus will increase their production” to cool oil prices.

International oil prices had hit a 14-year high of $ 130 per barrel earlier this month before retracting. It was trading at over $ 108 a barrel on Monday. But retail petrol and diesel prices have remained unchanged for a record 130 days in a row. Rates were last revised on November 4, 2021, when international oil prices were at $ 81-82 per barrel. Asked about the reported Russian offer to sell its crude oil and other raw materials at discounted prices with payment through a rupees-rubles transaction, Puri said the government will explore all options which are available.

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