India-China To Combine Oil Shopping Cards To Seek Better Bargain

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New Delhi: Arch rival India and Chinaare working on combining their shopping carts with a view to challenging Opec’s capability to play havoc with crude prices and seek better bargains from the cartel of oil exporting countries, especially its West Asian members.Both the countries together accounted for almost 17 per cent of world oil consumption last year.

The two sides kicked off formal talks in Beijing on Monday for forming an oil buyers’ club. The development is likely to weigh on Opec energy ministers, who are expected to discuss a plan to end the production cut deal later this month.

The talks come within less than two months of oil minister DharmendraPradhan proposing an alliance between Indian and Chinese staterun oil companies for a greater say in the market.

Sources said that the two countries were looking at working together rather than competing. “The timing is right. The boom in US oil and gas production gives us greater leverage against Opec,” an official said.

“As consumers, we have certain mutual interests. We agreed to promote (business-to-business) cooperation… and we are hopeful that in future buyers will be able to dictate prices,” oil minister DharmendraPradhan said after meeting China National Petroleum Corporation chairman Wang Yilin and Li Fanrong, deputy administrator of China’s National Energy Administration, on the sidelines of the 16th International Energy Forum ministerial round in April.

Pradhan, however, did acknowledge there would be “fair competition in some areas as it happens in business”, an oblique reference to acquisition of overseas oil and gas fields.

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