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India's oil demand not behind spike in crude prices: Deora
Ammar Zaidi in Madrid
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July 03, 2008 17:34 IST

India on Thursday trashed the western commentary that rise in demand in countries like itself and China was fuelling global oil prices, saying the two countries account for less than one-eighth of the world's consumption.

"With steadily declining energy intensity, both (China and India) are registering rapid economic growth with less than proportionate increase in oil demand," he said, addressing the 19th World Petroleum Congress in Madrid.

Market analysts and political commentators, particularly in the US, have in recent times blamed growth in fuel demand in India and China for the record crude prices of over $143 but Deora said growth in consumption in India was lower than many of the heavily subsidised nations.

"A small section of the oil analysts has 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. While China and India account for over one-third of the global population, their combined oil consumption is less than one-eighth of the world's consumption," he said.

High rates of economic growth in the two countries are a significant factor in ensuring stable and orderly growth of the world economy as a whole in the rapidly globalising world.

"India's refining capacity today stands higher than our oil demand which has a sobering effect on the product prices by reducing the mismatch between product 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," Deora said.

Deora's address, on the theme 'Energising India for Sustainable Growth,' focused on challenges the nation faced on the energy front with GDP growth rate of 9 to 10 per cent.

"India's energy needs are growing as income levels and population are both rising. Our main focus is to enhance energy security for the country," he said.

The nation is putting in more money in finding new oil and gas fields and enhancing production from existing ones, acquiring energy assets abroad and developing alternate sources of oil and gas.

It is also setting up strategic storage of crude oil at Vishakapatnam and Mangalore in the country's southern region, he said.

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