14:33 GMT +321 November 2018
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    A flag with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) logo is seen before a news conference at OPEC's headquarters in Vienna, Austria, December 10, 2016

    India Asks OPEC to Stop Subsidizing Western Buyers at Asia's Cost

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    India has asked oil producing countries to stop discrimination against it and other Asian countries on petroleum and gas prices.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — At the OPEC headquarters in Vienna, India's Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan asked OPEC to intensify bilateral dialogue to change the nature of engagement from a buyer-seller relationship to an energy partnership.

    "As a large import destination, there should be no ‘Asian Premium' on the crude supplied to India and Asian buyers. For a long time, OPEC subsidized western buyers at the cost of Asian buyers," Dharmendra Pradhan said.

    India imports its 86% requirement of crude, 70% of natural gas, 95% of LPG from OPEC countries. As India has been continuously investing in refineries, it is expected to import more in future. India is also using petroleum diplomacy to win over its neighbors including Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Nepal. Given the importance of Asian market for OPEC, particularly the fast-growing Indian market which stood by OPEC as a reliable and continued customer, Pradhan demanded "Asian dividend rather than paying Asian premium".

    India stressed on the fact that while the security of supplies was important for consuming countries, the security of demand was equally important for producers.

    "India will increasingly seek to leverage its power as a big importer of crude to get better prices, better deals. It is the beginning of a new era where any big importer will be like a king in this trade. Good for India and China," Narendra Taneja, India's leading energy expert, said.

    India is participating in the 2nd India-OPEC Institutional Dialogue at the OPEC headquarters with its largest ever delegation. The meeting took place two days prior to the OPEC Ministerial meeting that is scheduled from May 25.

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