India watching military conflict in the Middle East closely, oil minister says

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India, the world’s third-biggest oil importer, is watching the ongoing conflict in the Middle East closely, the country’s oil minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Monday.

Oil prices rose over $3 a barrel on Monday as military clashes between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas deepened political uncertainty across the Middle East and raised concerns about supplies. [O/R]

“The place where action is taking place is in many respects the centre of global energy… as we go along we will navigate through this,” Puri told reporters at an industry event in New Delhi.

Global uncertainties of such nature encourage people to use sustainable, cleaner fuels, Puri said, adding that $100 per barrel crude oil prices was unsustainable.

Higher oil prices typically lead to surge in inflation and hurts growth in large-scale importer like India.

Last week, India had urged oil producers to show “sensitivity” towards consuming countries, hit by prices largely trading above $90 a barrel since Saudi Arabia and Russia decided to extend voluntary cuts to year-end.

(Reporting by Nidhi Verma in New Delhi and Sethuraman NR in Bengaluru; Editing by Mrigank Dhaniwala and Nivedita Bhattacharjee)