Gulf nations to remain major oil suppliers to India for a 'long time', minister says

FILE PHOTO: A worker rides a bicycle at the Bharat Petroleum Corporation refinery in Mumbai
A worker rides a bicycle at the Bharat Petroleum Corporation refinery in Mumbai, April 24, 2008. REUTERS/Punit Paranjpe/File Photo

BENGALURU, India, Feb 8 (Reuters) - (This Feb. 8 story has been officially corrected to say OPEC seminar, instead of OPEC+ meeting, in the last paragraph)

India, the world's third-biggest oil importer and consumer, has diversified its sources of energy imports but will continue to buy most of its oil from the Middle East for a long time, the South Asian country's oil minister said on Wednesday.

"I continue to maintain that the Gulf, countries of the gulf, will continue to be major suppliers and account for a large percentage of our imports for a long time to come," Hardeep Singh Puri told reporters at India Energy Week.

He also said India will consider buying oil from Iran and Venezuela if sanctions are lifted and would continue purchases from Russia if prices "continue to be good".

India has diversified its sources of oil imports to 39 countries from 27 two years ago, he said.

Rising purchases of Russian oil have reduced the share of supplies of India's crude imports from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to the lowest in more than a decade.

OPEC Secretary-General Haitham Al Ghais has invited India to be a part of an OPEC seminar, Puri added.

Reporting by Nidhi Verma in Bengaluru, Writing by Shilpa Jamkhandikar; Editing by Jacqueline Wong

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