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India, US, Japan, China and UK to release crude oil from strategic reserves in bid to cool prices

Photo for representation.

India has decided to release 5 million barrels of crude oil from its strategic petroleum reserves simultaneously with the USA, Japan, China, Britain and Republic of Korea with the aim of bringing down prices in the international market.

The petroleum ministry said that the release of crude oil from the strategic stocks will take place in consultation with these countries, which are also major global energy consumers. India holds about 26.5 million barrels of oil in its reserves.

The United States will release 50 million barrels of crude from its strategic petroleum reserve to help cool oil prices, the White House said on Tuesday.

The move has come after the U.S. was unable to persuade the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russia, known as OPEC+, to pump more oil with major producers arguing the world was not short of crude.

The international oil cartel comprising OPEC+ countries have pushed up oil prices which are now hovering at $77 to $80 per barrel adding to inflationary pressures and posing an obstacle to economic revival as the world grapples with Covid-19.

“India strongly believes that the pricing of liquid hydrocarbons should be reasonable, responsible and be determined by market forces. India has repeatedly expressed concern at supply of oil being artificially adjusted below demand levels by oil producing countries, leading to rising prices and negative attendant consequences,” the petroleum ministry said.

In an attempt to bring down fuel prices, the government has already reduced excise duty on petrol and diesel cut by Rs 5 and Rs 10 respectively on November 3, 2021,