India seeks stronger energy ties with US; asserts Russian oil purchases stabilize market

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Amid geopolitical turbulence sparked by the Ukraine war, India has underscored the importance of its energy partnership with the United States, citing its strategic purchases of Russian oil as a stabilizing force in global crude markets. According to S&P Global Commodity Insights, Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources Geoffrey R. Pyatt revealed that discussions between US officials and India’s Petroleum Minister Hardeep Singh Puri highlighted India’s perspective on the matter during a recent online interaction with the media.

Pyatt emphasized that India’s significant procurement of Russian oil served the dual purpose of curbing global crude prices and ensuring affordable fuel for its citizens. “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 the weaponization of his oil and gas resources,” Pyatt stated, echoing sentiments shared during his previous visit to India.

Russia accounted for over 35 per cent of India’s total crude imports in 2023, amounting to approximately 1.7 million barrels per day, according to data from S&P Global Commodity Insights. Pyatt also highlighted discussions regarding Russia’s crude oil price cap, which, despite reducing Moscow’s oil revenue, successfully maintained Russian product availability on global markets, thereby preventing further market destabilization. The talks between the two nations extended beyond Russian oil purchases, encompassing broader energy security concerns and shared interests in global energy market stability.

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Topics ranged from challenges in the Red Sea region to developments in Iran and Venezuela. Pyatt emphasized the collaborative efforts of the United States and India in navigating disruptions in global oil markets and ensuring stability while striving to deliver affordable energy with the minimal carbon footprint. Looking towards the future, Pyatt expressed optimism about enhancing India-US energy cooperation, labelling it as one of Washington’s most vital energy and security relationships globally.

He highlighted the potential for collaboration in clean energy initiatives, citing discussions with Greenko, one of India’s leading renewable energy companies, regarding investments in storage and green hydrogen, including ventures in the United States. The discussions underscored the alignment of Indian companies with US interests in reducing dependence on Chinese dominance in clean technology supply chains.

“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 labour costs to build up a real alternative supply chain,” he added. Pyatt emphasized India’s manufacturing capabilities and labour resources as valuable assets in building alternative supply chains, further solidifying the potential for strengthened collaboration between the two democracies in the energy sector.