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India Uses Its Oil Demand Power To Secure Better Deals With OPEC

India wants better deals with OPEC, asking for “responsible price” and “seller-buyer alignment”, India’s Petroleum Minister Dharmenda Pradhan said on Twitter on Monday, following a meeting with OPEC’s Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo in Vienna.

India raised the issue of “Asian Premium” still being charged by some OPEC members for supplies to India, Pradhan noted.

Ahead of the minister’s trip to Vienna, Times of India quoted an official as saying that “New Delhi is aiming to change the narrative from ‘Asian premium’ to ‘Asian discount”.

“It is seeking discount, longer credit period and priority loading, among other things. It is for Opec to decide whether it wants to retain its market share,” the official said, as quoted by Times of India, wielding its own clout and perhaps preying on OPEC’s perceived weakness ahead of the OPEC production cut meeting on May 25.

At the meeting with Barkindo at the OPEC-India Energy Dialogue, Pradhan underlined the importance of cooperation, since 86 percent of India’s crude oil imports come from the cartel, according to a press release by OPEC.

The Indian minister also tried to emphasize the message for better terms for its deals with OPEC in India’s expanding refining and petrochemicals sector.

Pradhan’s delegation consisted of all 7 refiners including IOCL, HPCL, BPCL, MRPL, Reliance, Essar, HMEL, the minister said on Twitter. India’s delegation included the CEOs of the seven public and private refiners who manage all 23 refineries in India currently processing around 4.7 million barrels a day, OPEC said in its statement.

“Both Parties underscored the importance of further expanding direct dialogue between Indian companies and their counterparts in OPEC Member Countries, particularly in the downstream, to help meet the ever-growing demand for oil in India,” OPEC said.

After the meeting, Pradhan said at a news conference that Saudi Aramco was “strongly interested” in a project with Indian state refining companies.

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Last month, Indian media quoted Pradhan as saying that Aramco was in talks to buy a stake in a planned refinery expected to be built by state refiners on India’s west coast that would be the country’s biggest refinery.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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