India urges OPEC to move to responsible oil pricing

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Vienna, June 21 (IANS) India on Wednesday urged the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) cartel to move to responsible pricing of oil and gas, saying the current prices are posing a threat to fragile world economic growth.

Addressing an OPEC seminar here, Indian Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said global trade practices in the hydrocarbons sector are not contributing to energy access and affordability to all.

“It is high time to move to responsible pricing, one that balances the interests of both the producer and consumer. We also need to move to transparent and flexible markets for both oil and gas.

“We often see global trade practices in the field of oil and gas which are not contributing to energy access and affordability and become a hindrance to sustainability. Price of oil and gas have become subject to vagaries of geopolitics,” he said.

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Noting that high oil prices hit economic development of many countries, Pradhan said that the fragile world economic growth will be at threat if oil prices continue at these levels.

“My fear is this will lead to energy poverty in many parts of the world,” he said.

Pradhan pointed out that crude prices have gone beyond the threshold which can be sustained by the world.

“These prices are creating stress throughout global economy, as it is giving pain to us in India. The already fragile world economic growth will be at threat if oil prices persist at these levels,” he said.

“Political conditions, sometimes internal and sometimes external, result in reduced output of some countries. We expect from OPEC and its members a commitment to step in to more than fill the gap to ensure sustainable prices.

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“It is in the interests of producers that other economies keep growing steadily and rapidly so as to ensure growing energy markets for themselves. This is the key to energy sustainability. OPEC as the predominant supplier has the responsibility to maintain supply equilibrium,” he added.

Pradhan is in Vienna over 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.

The OPEC meeting comes at a crucial time when global crude oil prices are at the highest since the peak of 2014 at over $75 a barrel.

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–IANS

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