India buying Russian oil keeps prices cheaper, says oil minister Puri

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Hardeep Singh Puri, India’s minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, at the ADIPEC conference in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Tuesday, October 3, 2023.

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India will keep global crude prices affordable by buying oil from Russia, India’s energy minister said.

“The world is grateful to India for buying Russian oil. It’s not that they don’t want us to buy Russian oil,” India’s Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Hardeep Singh Puri told CNBC’s Sri Jegarajah on the sidelines of the India Energy Week conference in Goa.

“If we start buying more Middle East oil, the price of oil will not be $75 or $76. It will be $150,” he said.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Indian refiners have been cracking down on discounted Russian oil.

India's oil minister says world 'grateful' to India for buying Russian oil

Moscow has since become India’s main source of crude oil, accounting for about 36% of the South Asian country’s crude imports.

As a result, India’s oil imports in the Middle East fell to the lowest level.

Oil prices have been under pressure despite rising tensions in the Red Sea and fears of an expanding conflict in the Middle East. Such uncertainty would normally push energy prices higher but gains have been limited amid record US output, and an ongoing global economic downturn.

The Indian minister said he was “not very concerned” about whether the increase in prices would be due to a lack of availability or the price of oil.

“The fact of the matter is that half the work is shrinking,” he said, adding that higher oil prices will always be a “self-fulfilling prophecy” where higher prices reduce request.

The market impact of the Red Sea crisis has been 'surprisingly limited', the analyst says
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