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Oil declined for a third straight session

Oil declined for a third straight session as investors locked in profits from recent gains while looking ahead to inventories data from the U.S.

Brent crude for May fell by 56 cents, which equals 0.8%, and settled at $66.96. Meanwhile, U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for April stood at $63.56 a barrel, down 45 cents, or 0.7%.

According to the chairman of one of the nation’s biggest refiners, Saudi Arabia’s push to restrain oil supply to buoy prices is spurring India to speed up plans to diversify its crude sources and pursue alternative energy.

The world’s third-biggest oil importer was already trying to cut its dependence on Middle Eastern crude. Significantly, American oil rose from 0.5% of total purchases to 6% over the past five years.

Prices gained support last week from the decision by the OPEC and allied producers to largely maintain production cuts in April. They then initially boosted on Monday, with Brent climbing over $70 a barrel, after attacks by Yemeni Houthis on Saudi Arabia’s oil heartland, before settling back as the alarm subsided.

about 86% of Indian oil imports last year were from OPEC+ members

According to government data, approximately 86% of Indian oil imports last year were from OPEC+ members, with 19% from Saudi Arabia. Indian refiners are observing Iran’s possible re-entry into the oil market closely.

The higher prices are also expected to add more impetus to India’s push for cleaner energy sources. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced last month that the country targets 40% of its energy needs to come from green sources by 2030.

Another essential thing to mention is that Brent oil’s boost of about 30% so far this year is already crimping domestic fuel consumption and is threatening India’s recovery from its worst recession since the 1950s. Analysts say higher prices push up inflation, and that is not good for the economy.

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