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New Delhi, Jul 3 (UNI) Blaming India and China for the recent oil price upsurge is "completely devoid of merit", Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said at the World Petroleum Congress in Madrid today.

''A small section of the oil analysts have been ascribing the relentless rise in crude prices in recent months to the spurt in demand for oil from India and China. I wish to take this opportunity to set the record straight,'' Mr Deora said.

The minister said while the two Asian giants accounted for one-third of the world's population, their combined oil consumption is less than one-eighth of global consumption.

''And, with steadily declining energy intensity, both our countries are registering rapid economic growth with less than proportionate increase in oil demand,'' Mr Deora said, adding that the high rate of growth in the two countries was a ''significant factor in ensuring stable and orderly growth of world economy''.

Further, he noted, India's surplus refining capacity has had a ''sobering effect'' on prices of refined oil products as it has reduced the imbalance between demand and supply.

''Given these facts, we are of the firm view that attribution of high crude prices to rising demand from India and China is completely devoid of merit and misses the wood for the trees," he said.

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