Don’t let political posturing lower our energy security
India needs an approach that keeps in mind the ground realities of our hydrocarbon dependence
Through February, India’s petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan had been urging the ‘OPEC +’ group of oil producers to do away with production cuts and bring prices down. Not only did they fail to heed his request, the Saudi energy minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, even suggested that India use the cheap oil it had bought last year and kept in storage. In retaliation, public-sector oil importers were instructed to reduce purchases from Saudi Arabia. Imports from the kingdom were reduced from 910,000 barrels per day (b/d) in December to 445,000 b/d in February. Indian media gloated that India had made up for the shortfall with increased purchases from the US—up from 260,000 b/d to 545,000 b/d over the same period—thus firmly putting the Saudis in their place.