PM Modi seeks cooperation of oil producing countries to arrest steep rise in fuel prices


New Delhi, Oct 15: In the wake of sharp rise of fuel prices in recent times, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday held a meeting with the chiefs of national and international oil and gas companies. During the meeting, the Prime Minister emphasised on the economic challenges associated with the rising crude oil prices and sought cooperation of oil producing countries to deal with it.

Prime Minister noted that the oil market is producer driven; and both the quantity and prices are determined by the oil producing countries. Though there is enough production, the unique features of marketing in the oil sector have pushed up the oil prices, reported news agency ANI.

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Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) chairman and managing director Shashi Shanker, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) chairman Sanjiv Singh, Gas Authority of India Limited India head BC Tripathi and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) chairman Mukesh Kumar Sura were also present at the meeting along with several other prominent businessmen and dignitaries.

This in the third such annual meeting called by the Central government. The first meeting was held on January 5, 2016 where suggestions for reforming natural gas prices were made. In the second in October 2017, suggestions were made for giving out equity to foreign and private companies in producing oil and gas fields of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and Oil India Limited (OIL) . However, the ONGC had resisted this, leading to the proposal not going through.

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The Prime Minister in 2015 had set a target of reducing India's oil dependence by 10 per cent to 67 per cent (based on import dependence of 77 per cent in 2014-15) by 2022. Import dependence has only increased since then and the government is now looking for ways to raise domestic output.

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