India raises concerns over oil market volatility with producer countries

By Nidhi Verma

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India has flagged concerns over volatility in the global oil prices to major oil producers and organisations, oil minister Hardeep Singh Puri told lawmakers on Thursday.

India, the world’s third biggest oil importer and consumer, ships in over 80% of its oil needs from overseas.

“Government has been taking up the issue, bilaterally, with crude oil producing countries, with OPEC and with heads of other international fora to convey India’s serious concerns over crude oil price volatility,” Puri said in a written reply submitted to parliament.

India wants responsible and reasonable pricing for consumer countries, he said, without elaborating.

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, together known as OPEC+, began limiting supplies in late 2022 to bolster the market and in June extended supply curbs into 2024.

Saudi Arabia and Russia earlier this month made additional pledges outside the OPEC+ agreement to support crude prices.

Tighter supply has underpinned a rally in oil prices, with Brent crude trading close to its January highs on Thursday. Brent crude was down 23 cents to $87.32 a barrel at 1251 GMT, while West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI) was down 37 cents at $84.03.

In India, high oil prices have hit the profitability of the government- controlled retailers that have not revised the pump prices of petrol and diesel since last year to shield customers and rein in inflation.

India’s three state-run refiner and fuel retailers – Indian Oil Corp, Bharat Petroleum Corp and Hindustan Petroleum Corp – dominate fuel retailing in India.

(Reporting by Nidhi Verma; Editing by Frances Kerry)