Energy could replace Defence as the strongest link in India-U.S. relations, say experts

It is likely to replace defence as vital link, amid rising American oil imports

Energy deals are expected to be a key part of discussions between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday, with talks over increasing India’s imports of U.S. oil and gas, a clean energy deal including an MoU on building pipeline infrastructure for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) between American oil company ExxonMobil, gas transportation technology company Chart Industries and PSU Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL). However, a much-publicised agreement for Indian PSU Petronet to invest $2.5 billion in American LNG Company Tellurian will not be ready for signing, company officials said.

On Monday, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan met with the U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette to talk about the upcoming agreements. “We jointly reviewed the ongoing Strategic Energy Partnership between our two countries and agreed to take it to the next level,” Mr. Pradhan said in a tweet. In a speech last year, Mr. Pradhan had said that India’s energy imports from the U.S. would reach $10 billion this year.

In 2019, India increased its intake of oil from the U.S. to about 1,84,000 barrels per day (bpd) which was four times more than in 2018, and up from zero imports just four years ago. Some of the increase is due to the fact that India had to slash imports from Iran and Venezuela under threat of sanctions from the U.S., but officials say the U.S. has tried to compensate by subsidising U.S. oil transportation costs.

India is now the world’s third largest oil importer, and it is estimated that every $1 change in the price of oil internationally has a $1 billion dollar impact on India’s energy bill.

The Hindu
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