NEW DELHI: India’s private oil refiners are ready to work with their public counterparts to collectively negotiate better oil import deals, Oil Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Friday as the country seeks to lower its oil bill. ‘import.

India is forming a group of public and private refiners to seek better crude import deals, Reuters reported on Monday.

“The outcome of the meeting between private and public companies (refiners on a common oil supply plan) has been very encouraging,” Puri said at a press conference at the Indian Forum industry event. Energy.

He said private companies were “excited” about the plan.

India is the third largest importer and consumer of oil in the world, depending on imports for about 85% of its crude and purchasing most of it from producers in the Middle East.

Private companies including Reliance Industries, operator of the world’s largest refining complex, and Nayara Energy, part-owned by Russian oil major Rosneft, control around 40% of the 5 million barrels per day (b / d) capacity. refinery from India.

As local gasoline and diesel prices hit record highs in India’s worst energy crisis in years, the nation wants to redouble its efforts to buy wisely.

India’s trade deficit last month hit a record $ 22.6 billion, its highest level in at least 14 years, thanks to expensive imports.

India has repeatedly called on the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, known as OPEC +, to increase production to bring down global oil prices.

“The cost of energy should not exceed the ability of consumers to pay and this imperative must be configured by consuming countries in planning their production profile for the future,” Puri said.