Dubai: Dharmendra Pradhan, India’s Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, said on Monday that oil and gas producers must consider the consumers when negotiating prices.

Following a price increase in India today — the price of petrol went up Rs0.17 to Rs74,8 in Delhi and Rs82.65 in Mumbai, with diesel up Rs0.21 to Rs66.14 and Rs70.43 — he said, “Let me candidly, frankly, admit today’s price hike is pinching Indian consumers. I’m pursuing this point to my producer friends, make them understand this point of view.

“We are a level partner, so look into our interests also.”

India — the third largest consumer of oil and gas in the world — does not object to “responsible and reasonable”, but if prices went too high it would seek alternative energy sources such as renewable energy.

He said that although it was too early to “spell out” the effects of any new US sanctions on Iran, he did not believe there would be any disruption to India’s supply chain. The country imported 471,000 barrels a day from Iran during 2017, according to data from Thompson Reuters — 9.3 per cent of its daily imports.

Pradhan was speaking at a press conference at the Westin Hotel, Al Habtoor City, Dubai, following a roadshow offering new exploration and production contracts in 26 areas throughout India, and inviting bids for 86 City Gas Distribution (CGD) contracts in India.

Despite his warnings on price, he said India had long maintained friendly relations with Gulf countries, particularly the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and pointed to Saturday’s first shipment of oil from Adnoc to the Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserve storage facility at Mangalore as an example.

Adnoc is to supply 5.86 million barrels to the facility, which can store a total of 11 million barrels. Storage depots at Mangalore, Visakhapatnam and Padur will, in total, hold enough oil to supply India for 10 days.

“In a crisis we must have oil sufficiency,” Pradhan said, adding that Mangalore was currently only supplied from the UAE. “That will be at our requirement, on our doorstep, and for the UAE, they have a sure market in India, apart from the regular supplies.”