Responsible Oil Pricing

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India is understood to have urged the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) cartel to move to responsible pricing of oil and gas, saying that the current prices are posing a threat to fragile world economic growth. Addressing an OPEC seminar in Vienna, Indian Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said that global trade practices in the hydrocarbons sector are not contributing to energy access and affordability at all. “It is high time to move to responsible pricing, one that balances the interests of both the producer and consumer. We also need to move to transparent and flexible markets of both oil and gas. We often see global trade practices in the field of oil and gas which are not contributing to energy access and affordability, and become a hindrance to sustainability. The price of oil and gas have become subject to vagaries of geopolitics,” he said. These are very legitimate fears about what soaring oil and gas prices can do to poorer countries that are compelled important fossil fuels. The remedies are both painful and expensive, but it will not do for oil starved countries to look for shortcuts all the time. They must ensure total elimination of waste, concentrate on alternative means of transport like electric cars as expeditiously as possible and do everything possible to send across the clear message to the OPEC that they too can call the shots when irrational greed over the price of essential fuels makes the OPEC unresponsive to the legitimate fuel needs of countries not fortunate enough to have fossil fuel resources of their own.