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Home > Business > Business Headline > Report

Ministry reviews oil plans as war rages

Pradeep Puri in New Delhi | April 03, 2003 12:15 IST

With the war in Iraq threatening to enter the third week, the petroleum ministry has decided to review its contingency plans to meet the country's oil requirements.

"The plans will be reviewed every 15 days to fine-tune them according to the situation on the ground," Petroleum Minister Ram Naik said on Wednesday.

The government will look for suppliers outside the war zone if the war spreads and blocks the supply routes.

In case the supply of oil is disrupted, the petroleum ministry will explore the alternatives for crude imports, including spot purchases from sources outside the Gulf region.

In the case of a crisis, the government will also try to source crude from countries outside the Persian Gulf, including Egypt, Yemen, Nigeria, Russia, Malaysia, Norway, Angola, Venezuela, Oman and Australia.

The minister said some contracts had already been signed with suppliers far away from the conflict zone. He, however, refused to divulge the names of the suppliers or the quantity of crude to be sourced from them.

Naik said the war had not yet affected the availability of oil in the country. Crude supplies had not been disrupted and the oil tanks were full, he said.

The country would start getting ONGC Videsh Ltd's 25 per cent share of oil production from the Greater Nile project in Sudan from next month, the minister added.

ONGC Videsh, a subsidiary of the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, is also trying to buy out the other two partners in the project-the National Oil Company of China and Petronas of Malaysia.

India has 12 days' stock of crude and another 11 days' requirement in transit. It imports less than 5 per cent of its crude requirement of 78.7 million tonnes from Iraq.

The country also has a stock of petrol to last 33 days, diesel 29 days, kerosene 32 days, aviation turbine fuel 47 days and liquefied petroleum gas 15 days.

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