External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday underlined the need for 'oil diplomacy' to balance and harmonise the interests of global producers and consumers, while energy security must remain a prime objective of policies and all-round efforts.
His remarks came as oil prices dipped below $53 a barrel in global markets -- 13 per cent fall in the new year -- on doubts over plans of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to cut production.
Nigerian Minister Edmund Daukoru, speaking at the global industry conference Petrotech 2007 in the capital, said the organisation must watch a planned 500,000 barrels a day cut from February before deciding the future course.
Inaugurating Petrotech, Mukherjee said, " Oil diplomacy must remain harnessed with a view to balancing and harmonising various interests, occasionally somewhat or seemingly contradictory, such as those between producers and consumers.
I say seemingly, for there is in reality a natural alliance between the producers and consumers, both being two sides of the same coin, in a relationship of mutual dependence and cooperation."
Referring to the government's efforts at energy security, the minister said, "We are moving towards this through intensification of indigenous exploration, bringing in more equity oil from overseas, improving the recovery by leveraging advances in technologies and professional management, and tapping emerging areas like coal gasification."
Mukherjee said the robust price escalation was matter of concern for India as it is rapidly increasing oil imports to meet its growing requirements.
" Wider and more intensive exploration for new finds, more efficient and effective recovery, a more rational and optimally balanced global price regime-- as against the rather wide upward fluctuations of recent times, and a spirit of equitable common benefit in global energy cooperation, are major instruments in a strategy towards this objective," he stressed.
He said with hydrocarbons sector emerging as a high-tech industry, there was a need for affordable availability of new technologies. Besides spurring economic development more universally, a collaborative and inclusive approach will benefit all partners, he said.