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India urges OPEC to end Asian premium

Author: IANS/Friday, June 15, 2018/Categories: Oil & Gas

India urges OPEC to end Asian premium

New Delhi - India has reiterated its call to end the Asian Premium on oil being charged by OPEC producers and said prices have risen beyond the threshold that can be sustained by the world.

At a meeting here with ambassadors of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said market fundamentals do not support such high prices and impressed on the need for OPEC governments to move towards responsible pricing, according to a petroleum ministry release here. 

"Minister Pradhan expressed his concern about rising crude oil prices and its negative impact on consumers across the world. He emphasized that globally crude prices have gone beyond the threshold which can be sustained by the world. 

"He reiterated the issue of discriminatory pricing through measures such as Asian Premium and urged the move to transparent and flexible markets for both oil and gas," he said.

Pradhan urged the OPEC Ambassadors to convey the message to their respective governments regarding the need to move to responsible pricing, one that balances the interests of both the producer and consumer.

"The timing of the meeting comes at a crucial time when global crude oil prices are at the highest since the peak of 2014," the statement added. 

According to the ministry, Pradhan is scheduled to visit Vienna on June 20-21 to participate in the OPEC international seminar and will discuss these key issues with OPEC Secretary General Sanusi Barkindo and ministers from the 13-nation cartel. OPEC and non-OPEC countries are also expected to decide on extending the output cuts, which, along with the geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, have helped push up crude prices. 

As two Asian giants that accounted for 17% of global oil consumption last year, India and China held formal talks in Beijing earlier this week on forming an oil buyers' club. Pradhan has earlier this year proposed an alliance between Indian and Chinese state-run oil companies to have a greater say in the market. 

With reports of Saudi Arabia and Russia discussing raising OPEC and non-OPEC oil production by some 1 million barrels a day producing a fall in crude rates, transport fuel prices in the country suddenly started declining in June. After declining for a fortnight, rates have remained unchanged for the second consecutive day on June 14. 

Domestic petrol prices, which had hit record levels for 16 consecutive days during May, have been on the reverse trend for the last two weeks but the relief for consumers has been slow in coming. The pace of decline has been less than half the rate of surge.

US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that oil prices were too high and blamed OPEC for the surge. 

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