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Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019

Amid oil shortfall concerns, Saudi says committed to India’s energy needs

In New Delhi, petrol prices have soared by Rs 1.59 a litre and diesel by Rs 1.31 in the last six days -- the most since daily price revision was introduced in 2017, following the strike at Saudi Arabian oil facilities which has jolted the oil markets.

india Updated: Sep 22, 2019 18:35 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
A massive drone strike at Saudi Arabian oil facilities have jolted oil markets.
A massive drone strike at Saudi Arabian oil facilities have jolted oil markets.(Reuters Photo)
         

Saudi Arabia, whose oil facilities in Abqaiq were hit in a drone attack, has said it is committed to meet India’s energy security needs and will work constructively with other oil producers to maintain market stability.

Saudi Ambassador Dr Saud bin Mohammed Al Sati, in an interview to PTI, said his country will invite the United Nations and international experts to participate in the investigation into the attacks and have a first-hand experience of the situation on the ground.

In New Delhi, petrol prices have soared by Rs 1.59 a litre and diesel by Rs 1.31 in the last six days -- the most since daily price revision was introduced in 2017, following the strike at Saudi Arabian oil facilities which has jolted the oil markets.

Attackers using low-flying drones and cruise missiles knocked out 5.7 million barrels of production, or about 60 per cent of what Saudi Arabia currently produces, on September 14 triggering fresh tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran. It was the largest supply disruption in history.

The ambassador said Saudi Arabia has the capability and resolve to defend itself and to forcefully respond to “these aggressions”, and appreciated India’s support and solidarity to Riyadh following the strikes which, he asserted, were “against the international community as a whole”.

Yemen’s Houthi terror group has taken responsibility for the attacks on oil facilities which severely impacted global oil supply. Saudi Arabia and its ally, the US, have blamed Iran for the attacks but Tehran has strongly denied the allegations.

Asked whether Saudi Arabia will increase oil supply to India to address the shortfall due to curb on import of oil from Iran, the envoy said his country is committed to India’s energy security and will meet any shortfall that may arise due to disruptions from other sources.

He said as one of the world’s leading energy producers, Saudi Arabia will continue working constructively with other producers within and outside OPEC to maintain market stability, thus protecting all the interests of producers and consumers alike.

“India condemned the attacks on our oil facilities and reiterated its resolve to oppose terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. As a friend and strategic partner, we appreciate India’s support and solidarity,” Al Sati said.

India depends on Saudi Arabia for a fifth of its oil imports and has been in constant touch with Kingdom officials on securing its supplies.

Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Thursday spoke to Saudi Arabia’s new oil minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman to discuss the supply plan. Saudi Arabia, according to Pradhan, has assured India of meeting all its committed oil supplies.

India’s relations with Saudi Arabia have been on an upswing over the last few years based on burgeoning energy ties besides cooperation in several other areas. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Riyadh in 2016 put bilateral ties on a new trajectory.

There are over 2.96 million Indian nationals working in Saudi Arabia, the largest expatriate community in the country.

First Published: Sep 22, 2019 18:06 IST

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