India may stockpile crude oil in US-based strategic reserves to shield itself from any supply disruptions arising out of geopolitical reasons and natural disasters, three people aware of the development said.
The US is increasingly becoming a key partner in India’s energy security. India has been importing oil and gas from the US since 2017, and discussions are underway to store crude oil in American strategic reserves, the people said on condition of anonymity. In just two years, the US has become one of the top 10 sources of crude oil imports for India, they said. India imports over 80% of the crude oil it processes; it imported crude oil worth $101.4 billion in 2019-20.
“The proposal to store oil in the US is still at an initial stage. It may be discussed at the second ministerial meeting of the India and US Strategic Energy Partnership (SEP) between Indian petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan and the US energy secretary Dan Brouillette on Friday,” one person said. The meeting, which was due to be held in Washington in April this year will take place on Friday through video conferencing, another person said. The SEP was formally announced during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US in June 2017.
The first ministerial meeting was held in New Delhi on April 17, 2018 between minister Pradhan and the then energy secretary Rick Perry.