India asks Saudi Arabia for additional 5 MT crude

India asks Saudi Arabia for additional 5 MT crude New Delhi: India Thursday asked Saudi Arabia for 5 million tonnes of additional crude to make up for the drastic cut in imports from Iran.

Oil Minister S Jaipal Reddy met Saudi Oil Minister Ali al Naimi on the sidelines of the the OPEC Ministerial Conference in Vienna to make the request.

Reddy "asked for another 5 million tonnes per annum of crude oil from Saudi Arabia over and above the 32 million tonnes it had imported during 2011-12," an official statement said here.

India has relegated Iran as its third largest supplier by cutting imports from 18.5 million tonnes in 2010-11 to 17.44 million tonnes in 2011-12. It further wants to reduce imports to 15.5 million tonnes this fiscal in view of US and European economic sanctions against the Persian Gulf nation.

Saudi Arabia is India's largest supplier of crude oil and Iran was the second biggest till 2010-11.

Reddy also sought 1.5 million tonnes of LPG from Saudi Arabia during the current year.

During the bilateral meeting with Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Ghasemi, he sought more time from Tehran for ONGC Videsh Ltd to develop the offshore South Pars Phase-12 gas fields.

"The Iranian Minister said the Iran Offshore Oil Company (IOOC) would be advised to resolve all pending issues and concerns at an early date," the statement said.

New Delhi made requests for additional quantities of crude oil and LNG supplies when Reddy met Algerian Minister for Energy and Mines Youcef Yousfi.

"GAIL is already in talks with (Algerian national oil company) Sonatrach for tying up LNG imports on annual basis; Minister expressed India's interest in having long term LNG contracts with Algeria," it said.

Reddy discussed sourcing of more LNG and oil from Qatar when he met his Qatari counterpart Mohammed Bin Salah Al Sada.

During 2011-12, India imported 6.41 million tonnes of oil from Qatar. "Also, both sides discussed the long term LNG contract between Petronet LNG Ltd and RasGas (of Qatar) for another 3.5 million tonnes of LNG, including the need to settle the pricing issue at an early date," the statement said.

Petronet currently imports 7.5 million tonnes of LNG from Qatar on a long-term contract.

PTI