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India eyes stronger US energy ties; says Russian oil buying has stabilized market


India says imports of Russian oil managed to keep fuel affordable for citizens

India, US discuss Red Sea crisis, developments in Iran and Venezuela

US says boosting energy ties with India extremely important

  • Author
  • Sambit Mohanty    Ratnajyoti Dutta
  • Editor
  • Aastha Agnihotri
  • Commodity
  • Crude Oil Energy Transition Natural Gas Shipping Upstream

India has told the United States that its plentiful purchases of Russian oil since the start of the Ukraine war has served the twin objectives of keeping global crude prices under check while serving its own citizens with affordable fuel, US Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources Geoffrey R. Pyatt said.

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Pyatt recently held discussions with India's petroleum minister Hardeep Singh Puri on the issue and understands India's viewpoint on this, he said in an online interaction with the media.

"On Russian oil, this was a big part of my conversation with Minister Puri. We both agreed – and I said the same thing at much greater length on my visit to India last year. India has played a key role in our effort to stabilize global energy markets in the face of the extraordinary destabilization caused by Vladimir Putin's brutal invasion of Ukraine and his weaponization of his oil and gas resources," Pyatt said.

"And Minister Puri, quite naturally, made clear his desire to achieve the lowest possible price for the crude oil that India continues to need to power its economy. So there is no daylight between us – the US and India – in terms of our approach to this issue," he added.

Russia contributed over 35% of India's total crude imports in 2023, amounting to 1.7 million b/d, according to S&P Global Commodity Insights data.

Oil price cap

Pyatt also spoke to Puri about how Russia's crude oil price cap had driven down Moscow's oil revenue by about a third, but managed to keep Russian product on global markets, in order to prevent any further market destabilization.

In addition, the two countries also held broad discussions on converging interests on energy security, stability in global energy markets, concerns around the Red Sea, as well as Iran and Venezuela.

"All of the disruptions in global oil markets in particular -- United States and India are navigating together," Pyatt said, adding that the common objective is to ensure stability of those markets, while delivering affordable energy to the citizens with the lowest possible carbon footprint.

"We have the actions of the Houthis in the Red Sea, which have destabilized a key global chokepoint for international commerce – including not just energy, which we have talked about a lot, but look at what's happening to global container shipping as containers -- containerized shipping has been rerouted and the impact that that potentially has on inflation, on the cost of goods, and the integration of our global economic system," Pyatt said.

"So in the face of that destabilization, the United States and India, -- we all need friends and allies -- we come to all of these issues that I've just talked about as two democracies, as two maritime powers." he added.

Boosting cooperation

Pyatt was extremely optimistic on the potential for India-US energy cooperation, saying he believes it is one of Washington's most important energy and energy security relationships in the world.

He also added that there was potential to boost collaborate on clean energy.

"I was enormously encouraged by my conversations with Greenko, one of India's largest renewable energy companies, which is looking at significant new investments in storage and green hydrogen, including here in the United States," Pyatt said.

"And it really illustrates how Indian companies are fully aligned with the United States in terms of our shared interest in reducing our exposure to Chinese domination of clean technology supply chains, and uniquely, I think, in the Indian case, using India's capacities in manufacturing and labor costs to build up a real alternative supply chain," he added.