Indian minister urges OPEC+ to consider impact on consumers at Dec meeting

India's Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri speaks during the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC) in Abu Dhabi

By Yousef Saba and Alex Lawler

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - India's oil minister on Monday urged the OPEC+ alliance of oil producers to bear in mind the impact of their upcoming decision, expected on Dec. 4, on consumers as inflation soars across the world.

Hardeep Singh Puri told Reuters on the sidelines of a major industry event in Abu Dhabi that the OPEC+ decision was a "sovereign" one.

"It is entirely up to the producers to determine how much they want to produce and what price they want to sell," he said.

But he added: "They have to factor in what's happening in the world, what the impact of their decisions will be."

India's oil imports reliance is 85% and the country consumes about 5 million barrels of oil per day, he added, which is about 5% of global consumption.

"Our gas production went up by 18% last year, it will go up by another 18% this year, but we are the world's fastest growing major economy and our consumption is going up."

"We will diversify. I never bought energy from the U.S., we're buying $20 billion a year now. We are looking to any other source, wherever energy is coming in from," adding India was accelerating use of alternative energy sources.

Russia's share of India's oil imports surged to an all-time high of 23% in September, overtaking Saudi Arabia as the country's second largest supplier behind Iraq.

The minister, in response to a question on the OPEC+ decision to cut oil production in October, which was criticised by the United States, cited the impact of high energy prices on growth, on top of high inflation and the pandemic's impact.

"High oil prices in and of themselves will have a dampening effect because if a recession comes, the demand will fall," he said.

"So my submission is that I think we should all put our heads together and decide what's good. We will navigate through this in India. I have no doubt about that."

Puri said he was with U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm when the OPEC+ decision was announced in early October.

"So what she said and what we said, you know, we don't make public comments on that. But you know, you know what the situation is," he said.

(Reporting by Yousef Saba and Alex Lawler in Abu Dhabi; editing by Jason Neely)