New Delhi - As a leading energy consumer, India is looking to upgrade its relationship with oil producing countries to a strategic one, instead of mere buyer-seller, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said.
This was the message of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his three-hour long meeting here with chief executives of top global and Indian companies, including British major BP, Russia's Rosneft, Saudi Aramco and Reliance Industries, on ways to revive investment in oil and gas exploration and production.
"The Prime Minister laid out to leading companies like BP, Shell, Rosneft, Exxon Mobil as to what should be the energy economy of India," Pradhan told reporters here on the sidelines of the CERAWEEK India Energy Forum organised by IHS Markit.
"The Prime Minister emphasised the need to move the engagement to a strategic partnership, going beyond the buyer-seller relationship," he said, adding that "all major producers, Saudi Arabia, Russia, the US, all have recognised the massive scale of India's energy engagement".
According to a statement, from the Prime Minister's Office, Modi said there is a need to develop energy infrastructure and provide access to energy in eastern India as the status of the energy sector in India was highly uneven.
CEOs and top officials from Rosneft, BP, Reliance, Saudi Aramco, Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, Vedanta, Wood MacKenzie, IHS Markit, Schlumberger, Halliburton, Xcoal, ONGC, IndianOil, GAIL, Petronet LNG, Oil India, HPCL, Delonex Energy, NIPFP, International Gas Union, World Bank, and International Energy Agency were present at the meeting.
Pradhan, Power Minister R.K. Singh, and senior officials from NITI Aayog and Prime Minister's Office, as well as the Petroleum and Finance Ministries were also present in the meeting.
Addressing the conference, Pradhan said that with India now being well integrated into the global oil economy, she was naturally impacted by geopolitical developments.
"Recently, when retail fuel prices went up in India, there was a hue and cry in the street," he said of the time last month when petrol prices in Mumbai went over Rs 79 a litre due to a rise in international rates.
"We therefore need to know and keep abreast of what is happening in the industry worldwide... about OPEC and output cuts, about Russia, shale in the US, trends in LNG market," he added.
As proof of the upgraded energy relationship with Saudi Arabia, Pradhan noted the opening of Saudi state-run oil giant Aramco's India office in Gurugram on Sunday that was jointly inaugurated by him and Aramco CEO Amin Nasser.
"Aramco investment in India will increase..they are in talks with possible partners here," Pradhan said.
Saudi Aramco, which established its business presence in India last year, has formed an Indian subsidiry that will engage in crude oil and LPG marketing, engineering and technical services, and other business development activities.
"Aramco India intends to partner with Indian companies and set up integrated business ventures in the hydrocarbon value chain in India," the Petroleum Ministry said.
According to the PMO, Modi thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Rosneft, for their commitments and support to the energy sector in India. He also appreciated the 2030 vision document of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.