India readies contingency plan for crude imports

Friday, 22 November 2002, 08:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: India has identified countries and regions from where crude oil could be sourced in the event of the U.S. taking military action against Iraq, Minister of State for Petroleum Santosh Kumar Gangwar said here Thursday.

"A number of countries from the Middle East and other oil producing regions have been identified for importing crude oil," Gangwar told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply.

"The oil companies would be procuring crude oil from these countries to meet their requirements," he said.

India's import bill during the last fiscal was 603.97 billion for around 78.7 million tonnes of crude. The country depends on imports for 70 percent of its requirements.

In addition, India had imported over one million tonnes of petroleum products and kerosene worth around 12 billion.

With a refining capacity of over 114 million tonnes, India has been able to considerably bring down the import of petroleum products in the last few years.

In view of the high volatility of the crude oil prices in wake of a possible strike on Iraq, India's import bill is expected to be much higher than last year, although there hasn't been a great increase in imports.

Gangwar told the Parliament that plans are being studied to maintain storage facility for a 45-day period. This will ensure adequate supplies within the country in case of any disruption in overseas markets.

"The proposed facility is envisaged to meet the emergency requirements arising out of any disruptions in crude oil supplies from abroad," he said.

At any given time, state-owned Indian oil majors maintain stocks for 45 days, which includes supplies in their refineries and petroleum products stocked at various points.
Source: IANS
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