New Delhi, Feb 26 (PTI) India, the world’s third largest energy importing and consuming nation, on Saturday said it is closely monitoring the global energy markets to track any supply disruptions following the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and will support release of oil from strategic storages to cool prices.
International oil prices climbed to an over seven-year high of USD 105.58 on February 24 over concerns of supplies being disrupted as a result of Russia attacking Ukraine. The rates have cooled to below USD 100 as western sanctions against Russia kept out energy supplies.
“The Government of India is closely monitoring global energy markets as well as potential energy supply disruptions as a fall out of the evolving geopolitical situation,” an oil ministry statement said.
While supply routes remain open, prices are likely to pinch. Petrol, diesel and cooking gas (LPG) rates continue to be on the election-related freeze for nearly four months now but PSU oil firms are expected to pass on the elevated global oil prices to consumers soon after elections in Uttar Pradesh end next month.
“With a view to ensuring energy justice for its citizens and for just energy transition towards a net zero future, India stands ready to take appropriate action for ensuring ongoing supplies at stable prices,” the statement said without elaborating.
It did not make any direct reference to consumer prices following the spike in international rates.
“India is also committed to supporting initiatives for releases from Strategic Petroleum Reserves, for mitigating market volatility and calming the rise in crude oil prices,” it added.
Asia’s third largest economy had in November last year agreed to release about 5 million barrels of crude oil from its emergency stockpile in tandem with the US, Japan and other major economies to cool international oil prices.
This was the first time ever that India, which stores 5.33 million tonnes or about 39 million barrels of crude oil in underground caverns at three locations on the east and west coasts, had agreed to release stocks for such purpose. That was when crude was at USD 82-84 per barrel. Now, it is much higher than that.
The US is trying to do a coordinated release with other consuming nations to cool rates again. The statement did not say how much oil India will release.
Industry sources said the gap between the retail selling price of petrol and diesel and the cost is well over Rs 10 per litre, which when passed on after completion of the elections next month would result in a spike in the inflation rate that is already above the RBI’s tolerance level of 6 per cent. PTI ANZ ABM ABM ABM
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Source: The Print