Indian refiners deepen cuts to Saudi oil purchases in May - sources
By Nidhi Verma NEW DELHI (Reuters) -Indian state refiners will buy 36% less oil from Saudi Arabia in May than normal, three sources said, in a sign of escalating tensions with Riyadh even after the Kingdom supported the idea of boosting output from OPEC and allied producers last week.
By Nidhi Verma
NEW DELHI (Reuters) -Indian state refiners will buy 36% less oil from Saudi Arabia in May than normal, three sources said, in a sign of escalating tensions with Riyadh even after the Kingdom supported the idea of boosting output from OPEC and allied producers last week.
Energy relations between India, the world's third biggest oil importer and consumer, and Saudi Arabia have soured as global oil prices spiked.
New Delhi blames cuts by the Saudis and other oil producers for driving up crude prices as its economy tries to recover from the pandemic.
State-run refiners have placed orders to buy 9.5 million barrels of Saudi oil in May, compared with the previously planned 10.8 million barrels, three sources said.
The refiners - Indian Oil Corp, Bharat Petroleum Corp, Hindustan Petroleum Corp and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd - normally buy 14.8 million barrels of Saudi oil in a month.
The decision to place nominations for less oil was taken on Monday, within two days of a telephone conversation between Indian oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan and his Saudi counterpart Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman on Saturday, three sources said.
Contents of the conversation between the two ministers is not known.
No immediate comment was available from the Indian companies, Saudi Aramco or the Saudi oil ministry.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, known as OPEC+, agreed on Thursday to gradually ease their oil output cuts from May, after the new U.S. administration called on Saudi Arabia, the de facto leader of the group, to keep energy affordable for consumers.
On Sunday Saudi Aramco, the state oil company of the Kingdom, raised official selling price, or OSP, of its oil for Asia while cutting it for Europe and American markets.
"We were surprised when they announced cuts for other markets while raising OSPs for Asia," said one of the sources.
India suggested refiners look for energy alternatives to Gulf oil, its main source of crude.
Tensions between the two countries further escalated after Abdulaziz last month advised India to use the stocks of crude it bought cheaply during the price slump in 2020. Pradhan termed Abdulaziz's response as "undiplomatic".
To dial down the disagreement, Abdulaziz last week said Aramco maintained normal April oil supplies to Indian refiners while cutting volumes for other buyers and conceded that voluntary output curbs has put "Aramco in some difficulty with some of its partners".
He also said that Saudi will phase out its additional voluntary cut in stages by July.
Meanwhile, Indian state refiners have begun diversification of purchases to include Brazil's Tupi grade, Guyana's Liza oil and Norway's Johan Sevredrup in their crude diet.
"We've always believed that crude supply should be market determined rather than artificially managed," Arindam Bagchi, spokesman for foreign affairs ministry said on Friday.
He said even though OPEC+ has announced a slight easing of oil output cuts, they are still far below India's expectations.
(Reporting by Nidhi Verma; Additional reporting by Ahmad Ghaddar; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Stephanie van den Berg THE HAGUE (Reuters) - The International Criminal Court on Wednesday upheld its 2019 acquittal of former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo on charges of crimes against humanity during post-election violence and ordered all conditions of his release be removed. The decision may open the way for Gbagbo, 75, who has been living in Belgium, to return to Ivory Coast
SAINT-DENIS, France (Reuters) - The French stadium that hosted World Cup finals in soccer and rugby is taking on a new role in response to the COVID-19 pandemic: it is becoming a vaccination centre. Workers at the Stade de France venue were on Wednesday putting up tents for use as vaccination cubicles inside a hall in the bowels of the stadium that in pre-pandemic times was used to host conferences and VIP receptions. The Stade de France is due to host the French soccer cup final in May, the final of the domestic rugby competition in June, and a concert by U.S.
By Michel Rose PARIS (Reuters) - French President Emmanuel Macron is to address the nation on Wednesday and is expected to announce that schools will close in April as he seeks to change the course of a third wave of COVID-19 infections that risk overwhelming hospitals. A government official said an extension of the April school holidays was an option