India is looking to sign a multi-year oil purchase deal with Guyana, the Guyanese minister for natural resources, Vickram Bharrat, said on Thursday, as the subcontinent moves to diversify its supply of crude imports.
Referencing the possibility of a long-term oil deal with India, Bharrat told reporters on the sidelines of India Energy Week in Goa that the government “will make a decision at some point in time”. He added that any deal of this kind would have to go through approval processes at the cabinet level.
Bharrat added that Indian companies are interested in acquiring stakes in Guyana’s development and exploration assets, though they are open to achieving this through negotiation, not only through the more traditional bidding processes.
“Our preference [for offering oil blocks for exploration] will be through bidding, and if there is any interest in any particular block, we are willing to negotiate and enter an agreement,” Bharrat said. No Indian companies took part in Guyana’s last oil and gas bidding round.
India’s continued interest in Guyanese oil comes after it approved the signing of a five-year memorandum of understanding to cooperate in the hydrocarbons sector last month. The countries have been in discussions about a potential bilateral relationship in the oil trade for more than two years.
India is the world’s third-biggest importer of oil. Last year, it significantly increased its imports of Russian crude oil after Moscow redirected most of its supply away from European buyers amid sanctions imposed after its invasion of Ukraine.
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However, ship tracking data showed that last month, India’s imports of Russian oil fell for a second consecutive month to their lowest levels in a year amid a tightening of US sanctions on vessels carrying Russian oil.
Following the sanctions, several tankers that were meant to deliver Russian Sokol crude to India were diverted and never reached the country. India is now looking to diversify its supply to avoid such volatility.
Earlier this week, the International Energy Agency said in its latest oil report that India is forecast to be the single-largest source of global oil demand growth from 2023 to 2030, narrowly beating China.