NEW DELHI, April 4 (UPI) -- Qatar is developing into a major contributor to India's energy security with its oil and natural gas supplies, the Indian oil minister said.
Indian Oil Minister S. Jaipal Reddy met with Qatari officials on the sidelines of an energy conference in New Delhi.
"I would like to acknowledge Qatar's growing importance in India's energy security matrix not only in respect of liquefied natural gas but also crude oil and liquefied petroleum gas," he was quoted by the Platts news service as saying.
In terms of gas, Reddy said coal is still cheaper for Indian consumers.
India has struggled to pay for Iranian crude oil since the Reserve Bank of India opted in December 2010 to stop trading in euros and U.S. dollars.
New Delhi relies on imports for as much as 80 percent of its oil needs and counts on Iran as its No. 2 supplier. The government has called for a gradual move away from Iranian crude, however, because of sanctions pressure on Tehran.
During the financial year that ended March 11, Reddy said India imported about 41 million barrels of oil from Qatar.