On Friday, Indian Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan described the advice of his Saudi counterpart to reduce oil inventories to deal with high crude prices, as “non-diplomatic.”
“That was a kind of non-diplomatic answer from some of our old friends. I don’t politely agree with that approach,” Pradhan said at an event in the Indian capital.
He continued, “India certainly has its own strategy, when and how to use its stocks, and we are aware of our interests.”
Pradhan criticized the production cuts by OPEC and Saudi Arabia, which aim to stabilize prices and indicated that India would have to search for energy alternatives to Gulf oil, its main source of crude.
With India hit hard by high oil prices, Pradhan has repeatedly called on the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies to ease supply restrictions.
In response, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman suggested that India turn to its strategic reserves filled with low-cost oil, which was purchased last year.
India, the third-largest importer and consumer of oil in the world, has called on refiners to accelerate import diversification and reduce dependence on Middle East oil.
Sources told Reuters this month; Indian refiners plan to cut imports from Saudi Arabia by about a quarter.
“Today, Iraq is the number one supplier for our requirements, we get a large amount from the Emirates as well. The UAE is a very reliable partner,” Pradhan said, adding that Indian companies are free to buy oil from any country.
In order to reduce dependence on imports, he said India would consider meeting additional requirements through renewables.
And on Thursday, Pradhan said; African countries could play a major role in India’s endeavours to diversify its oil resources.