India, OPEC agree on ministerial level dialogue
India on Thursday stepped up its engagement with oil cartel OPEC by establishing a ministerial level dialogue even as Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan courted his counterparts from member nations like Iran, Iraq and Qatar to deepen energy engagements.
On the sidelines of the 6th OPEC International Summit here, Pradhan met Abdalla Salem El-Badri, Secretary General of the cartel and agreed to set up a regular institutional dialogue between India and OPEC at the level of Minister/Secretary General.
“The dialogue will take place every year, alternatively in India and at Vienna, and will look at various avenues of cooperation in the oil and gas sector,” a joint statement issued after the meeting said.
“The first meeting will take place in New Delhi in the last quarter of 2015 on a date mutually convenient to both sides.” Pradhan had in his address to the Summit on Wednesday sought fair pricing of oil by removal of premium OPEC nations charge from its Asian buyers as well as better trade terms like selling oil without payment guarantee and on extended credit period.
On the margins, he met Mohammed Saleh Abdullah Al Sada, Energy Minister of Qatar, which is India’s biggest supplier of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and a likely source for more gas. He also met Iranian Oil Minister Bijan <g data-gr-id="29">namdar</g> Zanganeh to discuss among other things getting rights to develop the Farzad-B gas field in the Persian Gulf for state-owned ONGC. With Iraqi Oil Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi, he discussed furthering ties. Iraq is India’s second biggest supplier of oil after Saudi Arabia.
“During his meeting with Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak, the two Ministers agreed to expand bilateral energy cooperation. It was agreed to conduct a joint study at an early date for exploring <g data-gr-id="31">feasibility</g> of crude and gas pipelines from Russia to India,” an official statement said.
India showed interest to import LNG and crude from Russia. The two sides also reviewed existing Indian investment projects in Russia and discussed <g data-gr-id="30">possibility</g> of working together in exploration and production sector. Pradhan met Prince Abdul Aziz Bin-Salman, Deputy Crown Prince and Minister of State for Petroleum of Saudi Arabia and reiterated the need to intensify bilateral energy engagements between the two nations.