[Joint Conclusion] The OPEC Secretariat hosted the 4th High-Level Meeting of the OPEC-India Dialogue on 05 November 2020 via videoconference. The Meeting was co-chaired by HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, Secretary General of OPEC and HE the Honourable Dharmendra Pradhan, India’s Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Minister of Steel.
The meeting focused onthe implications of COVID-19, discussing the repercussions of the pandemic and its significant impact on both the world economy and energy markets, including oil. Participants also deliberated on medium-term energy and oil prospects and challenges.
The OPEC Secretary General stated that India’s support for the producer-consumer dialogue has greatly contributed to the Organization’s success in pursuing the sustainability of the oil market in recent years, and it continues to do so during the challenging period around the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the pandemic, OPEC has been in close interaction not only with producing countries, but also with the major consumers, such as India, HE Barkindo said.
He added that OPEC and the Declaration of Cooperation (DoC) have been addressing the unparalleled impact of COVID-19 and the resulting severe market imbalance through swift and informed actions. The unprecedented decisions by DoC participating countries have received broad support from both major producers and consumers, including at G20 Ministerial meetings.
In terms of the bilateral dialogue, the OPEC Secretary General said: “India is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies and a major driver of global economic and oil demand growth. With India importing around 80% of its oil from OPEC Member Countries, and investment ties increasing with India, these talks are essential to all of us.”
He also praised India for setting a high bar on climate change policies, as was clear from a recent announcement by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on new targets for the country’s energy mix when outlining a new energy map for India.
HE Pradhan began by thanking the Secretary General for his participation in the Honourable Indian Prime Ministers interaction with global oil and gas leaders at the India Energy Forum by CERAWeek at the end of October 2020. He also underlined the importance of the India-OPEC Dialogue as a means to promote mutual understanding on key issues associated with the global oil sector.
The Honourable Minister highlighted that OPEC is critical for India’s energy requirements as it caters to 78% of India’s crude oil demand, 59% of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) demand, and nearly 38% of its liquefied natural gas (LNG) demand. In terms of value, India imported US$92.8 billion worth of hydrocarbons from OPEC Member Countries during FY 2019-20.
HE Pradhan shared that India’s energy sector has shown remarkable resilience in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic with its energy demand almost returning back to pre-COVID levels, particularly for petroleum products. The consumption of motor spirit (MS) and high-speed diesel (HSD) during the month of October exceeded the figures from 2019. He exhibited confidence that this recovery path in India’s energy demand growth will be sustained in the coming months. He highlighted the need to work together with OPEC to jointly address the current energy challenges and in the post-COVID scenario.
The Honourable Minister also highlighted that this year India has filled strategic petroleum reserves (SPRs) to a capacity of 5.33 MMT under Phase I of its SPR Programme. India will initiate the process of establishing another 6.5 MMT of commercial-cum-strategic petroleum storage at two locations under a PPP model. The Honorable Minister invited OPEC Member Countries to invest in this opportunity.
Both sides drew attention to the close cooperation and engagement in many projects and investments between OPEC Member Countries and India, and other topical issues were addressed, including the Asian Premium and term contracts.
It was noted that much has already been accomplished within the framework of the dialogue, including exchanges of data and technical meetings, and OPEC looks forward to this continuing and deepening in the future. India was invited to join the Charter of Cooperation as a producer and major oil consumer, to benefit from exchanges on pertinent issues affecting the oil market.
Prior to the High-Level Meeting, experts from OPEC and India held their regular technical meeting to discuss matters of common interest and importance in the energy sphere, along with future potential activities.
Both sides reiterated the value of cooperation in many forms, including technical exchange, secondments, as well as joint research activities.
The next High-Level Meeting of the OPEC-India Dialogue will be held in 2021, if possible in person, in New Delhi.