Discussions around India's energy security will top the agenda during US President Donald Trump’s proposed visit to India this year. Though no specific dates have been announced for Trump’s visit, officials from various sectors of both countries have met frequently in recent months.
Energy is an important component in the Indo-US trade mix, and currently, India imports around $4 billion worth of oil and gas from the United States of America. The ongoing US-Iran imbroglio has affected India’s energy supplies. This will have a cascading effect on India's strategic oil reserves and is expected to affect the country's refining capacity as it is a critical source of export earnings and has strategic implications.
The crude imports from the US are expected to go up to around 10 million tonnes (MT) in the current fiscal year, which is likely to double after Trump's visit. India had to stop the import of crude oil from Iran last year after the Trump administration refused to give further waivers.
According to a senior official who wished to remain anonymous, India's energy security is expected to be on top of the agenda when the two sides meet. "This is expected to include discussions related to the increase in imports from the US, as well as the technologies that the top companies could offer to India," the official said.
Trump is expected to be accompanied by high-level officials and a business delegation which would have representatives of the oil companies, as well as defence and aerospace sectors.
Discussions are likely to focus on concessional freight rates for Indian oil imports as well as higher credit period of 60-90 days which could be at par with what India received from Iran. As reported by Financial Express Online, these issues were also discussed at the CEO-level meet in Texas on the sidelines of the "Howdy Modi" event last year when Prime Minister Narendra Modi toured the US.
Reportedly, the US is the world's top oil producer, with Texas producing more than Iran and Iraq combined.