NEW DELHI: India will use whatever “margin of persuasion” it has while talking to oil-producing nations to make sure the fuel prices are down in the country, oil minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Friday. He added that India’s dependence on traditional energy sources such as petrol and coal will remain for a very long time and the transition to green energy sources will be orderly only if their prices are affordable. In his speech at the Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue organised by the Indian Navy, Puri said, “As a minister, the government is very sensitive to prices. And I can tell you, with total confidence, that we will use whatever margin of persuasion we have, bilaterally with my counterparts, or multilaterally or plurilaterally, to make sure the prices are down.” A week back, the minister had said India is looking to bring together public sector undertakings (PSU) and private sector refiners to seek better crude oil import deals from Saudi Arabia and other nations International oil prices climbing to a multi-year high of $85 per barrel has sent local retail petrol, diesel and LPG prices to record levels. India, which imports 85 per cent of its oil needs and is the world’s third-largest energy-consuming and importing country, has been impressing upon producers to raise output to help stabilise rates at affordable levels. The minister also said, “We are going to make the transition to green and sustainable energy very quickly but out dependence on the traditional energy is going to be around for a very long time. Let’s make no mistakes on that.” “If we don’t get the price right, and if we don’t allow energy access at affordable prices, we are going to have a problem in ensuring that the transition from here to green energy will be orderly,” he mentioned. India is the only country where as the per-capita energy consumption is one-third of the global average, the growth will be exponential in terms of energy requirement, he mentioned. There is a positive and negative side to it, Puri said. If the prices by the main producers remain high and more oil is not put in the market, it will at some stage affect us, the minister added. Today, India’s petrol consumption and diesel consumption is 20 per cent and 12-14 per cent higher than before the Covid-19 pandemic, respectively, he stated. “This means that the economy is firing away on all six cylinders,” he added.

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