Last month, Saudi Arabia shipped 80 tonnes of liquid oxygen to India and now three more containers with 60 tonnes of oxygen and another 100 containers to ferry them.
“Deeply appreciate the gesture of HRH Prince Abdulaziz, Minister of Energy, KSA for the offer to send 3 ISO Containers with 60 tons of LMO, which are expected to arrive in Mumbai on 6 June 2021, and also to provide 100 ISO containers in the coming months to support #IndiaFightsCorona,” Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan tweeted.
Earlier this month, Mr. Pradhan discussed with Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz, UAE Minister of Industry Sultan Al Jaber and Qatar’s Energy Minister Saad Sherida al-Kaabi for the supply of medical oxygen and containers.
“The 3 containers and the additional containers that will come in the weeks ahead will remain with @IndianOilcl for 6 months as a goodwill gesture from the Saudi Government, and IOCL will source LMO from Linde Dammam on commercial terms for import into the country,” Mr. Pradhan tweeted Saturday.
Coronavirus infections have dropped from over 4 lakh to 1.73 lakh, but officially recorded daily deaths at 3,617 continue to be high.
“My discussions with HRH Prince Abdulaziz during this month, and his consistent support for India’s efforts against the COVID-19 pandemic, is indeed a manifestation of our deep friendship and familial relations which ultimately forms the core of all our interactions,” he said.
Mr. Pradhan turned to OPEC nations weeks after a spat with OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia over rising oil prices.
In March, OPEC and its allies left oil output unchanged despite a near doubling of oil prices since the start of November, sparking a spat. Mr. Pradhan expressed disappointment at the decision and said the government has asked oil companies to look for diversification of supplies.
In response, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said India should first use the stocks of crude it bought cheaply during the price slump in 2020.
India buys 85% of its oil needs, two-third of which come from OPEC countries. Iraq is its largest supplier, followed by Saudi Arabia and UAE.
Oil refiners in India cut imports from Saudi Arabia in April, a move that was seen as a retaliatory move, but the purchase has since been restored to the original levels.