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Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews. 

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A New Mega Cartel Is Emerging In Oil Markets

China and India—two of the world’s largest oil importers and the biggest demand growth centers globally—are close to setting up an oil buyers’ club to have a say in the pricing and sourcing of crude oil amid OPEC’s cuts and U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela, Indian outlet livemint reports, citing three officials with knowledge of the talks.

This is not the first time that the two major oil importers are working to create such an oil club.

India and China have discussed creating an ‘oil buyers’ club’ to be able to negotiate better prices with oil exporting countries and will be looking to import more U.S. crude oil in order to reduce OPEC’s sway, both over the global oil market and over prices, India’s Petroleum Ministry said in June 2018.

“With oil producers' cartel OPEC playing havoc with prices, India discussed with China the possibility of forming an 'oil buyers club' that can negotiate better terms with sellers as well as getting more US crude oil to cut dominance of the oil block,” a tweet from the Petroleum Ministry’s Twitter account said in the middle of last year, when oil prices were rising ahead of the return of the U.S. sanctions on Iran’s oil industry.

According to the officials cited by livemint, China and India have exchanged senior-level visits several times since then and have made progress on “joint sourcing of crude oil.” Related: Massive Drop In U.S. Oil Rig Count Fails To Arrest Price Slide

Reports of the strengthened Chinese-Indian cooperation in potentially forming an oil buyers’ club come just as the U.S. sanction waivers for all Iranian oil customers expire this week.

China is Iran’s number-one customer, while India is the second-largest buyer of Iranian oil, so the end of the U.S. waivers will mostly affect refiners in those two oil importers who will be scrambling to source crude from other sources or risk secondary U.S. sanctions.

“China and India should do so to grab more bargaining power to make oil prices more sustainable,” Jawaharlal Nehru University Professor Srikanth Kondapalli told the Global Times in a recent interview, commenting on the benefits of an oil buyers’ club.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on April 30 2019 said:
    An oil buyers’s club as envisioned by China and India couldn’t be depicted as a cartel. Moreover, the whole idea is doomed to fail.

    While China and India could have a sway with the global oil market in their capacity as the world’s largest and third-largest oi importers respectively, neither they as buyers nor OPEC as supplier can determine oil prices. Only market forces have that ability.

    And were China and India to demand for instance a concessionary price from Saudi Arabia, UAE and Iraq, not only they will not get it but there are no other suppliers big enough to oblige.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London

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