July 20, 2020 [The Economic Times] – India is in advanced talks to store crude oil in US strategic petroleum reserves, while Indian companies are expected to sign more long-term deals for US oil or LNG, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said at the second meeting of the India-US strategic energy partnership.
Bilateral hydrocarbon trade had already risen to $9.2 billion, which is 10% of total trade between the two countries, and is poised to grow further, Pradhan said in the virtual meeting that was co-chaired by the U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette.
“We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to begin cooperation on Strategic Petroleum Reserves. We are also in an advanced stage of discussions for storing crude oil in U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve to increase India’s strategic oil stockpile,” Pradhan said in his address at the meeting.
US has strategic storage capacity of 88 million tonnes and allows private parties to store their oil for a fee. The US government last month said it had purchased 126,000 barrels of oil for the strategic reserve to help local oil producers struggling with weak demand and a supply glut. India’s purchases would also help US oil producers apart from adding to its own strategic reserves.
India’s strategic reserves, which can provide for 9 days of local needs, were almost half-empty until they were filled up in April-May when crude oil prices crashed.
A joint statement after the meeting said bilateral hydrocarbon trade has expanded 93% in two years. Pradhan said India was the fourth-largest buyer of US crude and the fifth-largest for US LNG. “The trend is expected to continue with Indian companies entering into more long-term contracts going forward from this year.”
India and the US have also launched a public-private hydrogen task force to help scale up technologies to produce hydrogen from renewable energy and fossil fuel sources and to bring down the cost of deployment for enhanced energy security and resiliency, the joint statement said.
The US-India bilateral hydrocarbon trade has expanded 93% in two years to $ 9.2 billion during 2019-20, the joint statement said.
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