India to diversify its crude oil imports: Oil minister

  • PTI, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 23, 2014 15:01 IST

India is diversifying its sources of crude oil imports to reduce dependence on any one region, Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan told Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

Replying to supplementaries during Question Hour, he said India is diversifying its crude purchases, tapping nations like Brazil, Columbia and Venezuela in the Latin America for supplies.

"India's dependence on the Gulf nations is 61%," he said.

The country bought 115.86 million tonnes of oil from West Asia out of 189.24 million tonnes total crude oil imported in 2013-14.

Latin America has emerged as its second biggest supplier region, supplying 31.73 million tonnes of oil. Africa provided 30.39 million tonnes of oil in 2013-14.

Pradhan said the government is attempting to raise domestic oil and gas production so as to reduce dependence on imports to meet its oil needs.

Production of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and Oil India Ltd (OIL) are being monitored on monthly basis.

"We have started work on reversing the declining trend in production. This fiscal, the negative trend due to mismangement of the previous governemnt, will be corrected," he said.

He said India pays 45% of its bill for oil imports from Iran in rupee but there is no barter arrangement.

"While there is no existing barter arrangement involving import of crude oil, Government continues to explore possibilities for such an arrangement as it would lead to export promotion and result in saving of foreign exchange," he said.

The government, he said, is insulating common man from the vagaries of international oil markets.

"In order to cushion the common man from the impact of high international oil prices and domestic inflationary conditions, the Government continues to modulate the retail selling price of diesel and subsidised domestic LPG, resulting in incidence of under-recovery (loss) on sale of these products," he said.

Currently, oil marketing companies are losing Rs 2.49 on sale of every litre of diesel and Rs 471.75 per LPG cylinder.

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