Crude oil shipment opens new vistas in India-U.S relationship

The first shipment of American crude oil is likely to reach India in the last week of September, opening new vistas in the Indo-U.S ties.

With this, India, the world’s third-largest oil importer, joins Asian countries like South Korea, Japan and China to buy American crude after production cuts by OPEC drove up prices of Middle East heavy-sour crude, or grades with a high sulphur content.

“New breakthroughs! oil shipments frm U.S to India has started,” the Indian Embassy in Washington tweeted on Wednesday after Indian Ambassador to the U.S, Navtej Sarna, handed over papers for the shipment to the Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

The first lot of two million barrels costs USD 100 million, but given the volume being contemplated by Indian companies, this new development is expected to boost the bilateral oil trade to USD 2 billion.

“Opening New Vistas in India U.S Co-opn,” tweeted the Indian Embassy in Washington DC which also posted several pictures and a video of the event.

Consignments of American crude oil left the U.S shores between August 6-14 and is likely to reach Paradip (Odisha) in the last week of September.

While the 40-year-old ban on export of American oil was lifted by the then U.S President Barack Obama in December 2015, the real move started during the maiden meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S President Donald Trump on June 26 when the two leaders agreed to deepen the engagement in the energy sector.

Soon thereafter, Indian companies started purchasing crude from the U.S.

Two Indian oil giants, Indian Oil Corporation and Bharat Petroleum, placed orders for over four million barrels. The development was welcomed by Trump in his phone call with Modi.

“In his call with Prime Minister Modi on Monday, President Trump welcomed the first-ever shipment of American crude oil to India, which will occur from Texas later this month,” a State Department spokesperson told.

“The President pledged that the United States would continue to be a reliable, long-term supplier of energy,” the spokesperson said.


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