Amid the ongoing fuel price issue all over the country since long, Union Petroleum Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Wednesday said this is an international issue,global economic recovery can be undermined if energy prices remain high not just for India, but also for other nations too.
"It's in interest of both producing and importing nations to have affordable energy," the Union Minister explained further.
Petrol and diesel prices have shot up to record highs across the country after relentless price increases since early May. International oil prices had crashed to USD 19 per barrel in April last year as demand evaporated with most nations clamping lockdowns to control the spread of coronavirus. The demand recovered this year as vaccination against the infection revived economies world over.
Puri said India's oil import bill has climbed from USD 8.8 billion in June 2020 quarter to USD 24 billion this year because of a spike in global oil prices.
India, which imports almost two-thirds of its oil needs from West Asia, has told crude oil producers, including the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), that high oil prices will hasten the transition to alternate fuels and such rates will be counter-productive for the producers.
Puri has in recent weeks flagged the issue of high oil prices to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, the US, Russia and Bahrain.
Puri said volatility in international prices is not just hurting India but also industrialised nations. While the world has begun the transition towards cleaner fuels such as electric-powered vehicles and hydrogen, most nations are still dependent on oil to fuel their economies. And high oil prices will hurt demand recovery.
India is 85 per cent dependent on imports to meet its oil needs and relies on overseas shipments to meet 55 per cent of the gas needs.