Dharmendra Pradhan to take up crude price issue at OPEC Vienna meet

New Delhi: Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan will raise India’s concerns about rising crude oil prices at the meeting of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to be held in Vienna later this month, the Minister said on Monday.

Briefing reporters here on the sidelines of the Growth Net conclave organised by industry chamber CII, Pradhan said that he would be putting across to OPEC and non-OPEC producers at Vienna that crude oil price should be regulated and pricing should be “reasonable and responsible”.

Pradhan is scheduled to visit Vienna from June 20-21 to participate in the OPEC international seminar and will discuss these key issues with OPEC Secretary General Sanusi Barkindo and ministers from the 13-nation cartel.

OPEC and non-OPEC countries are also expected to decide on extending the output cuts, which, along with the geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, have helped push up crude prices.

“We don’t want crude prices to be at $25 a barrel, but now it is going beyond reach. Why is it going beyond $55-60?,” he said.

“I will be telling them (at Vienna) that if you don’t regulate oil prices, we will be looking at alternate sources like electric transportation, renewable energy.”

At a meeting here with OPEC ambassadors last week, Pradhan reiterated India’s call to end the Asian Premium on oil being charged by OPEC producers and said prices have risen beyond the threshold that can be sustained by the world.

He said market fundamentals do not support such high prices and impressed on the need for OPEC governments to move towards responsible pricing, according to a Petroleum Ministry release.

“Minister Pradhan expressed his concern about rising crude oil prices and its negative impact on consumers across the world. He emphasized that globally crude prices have gone beyond the threshold which can be sustained by the world.

“He reiterated the issue of discriminatory pricing through measures such as Asian Premium and urged the move to transparent and flexible markets for both oil and gas,” it said.

The OPEC meeting comes at a crucial time when global crude oil prices are at the highest since the peak of 2014.