Reiterating New Delhi's decade-old demand, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is not justified in asking Asian buyers to pay more so that transportation cost to distant consumers particularly in the West can be subsidised.

Pradhan's predecessors particularly Mani Shankar Aiyar had in past vociferously raised the issue of OPEC members charging the so-called premium from Asian buyers but the cartel has refused to act on the issue.

"There is a strong feeling that Asian counties like India should receive Asian dividend rather than paying Asian Premium while making bulk purchase of crude. I will not hesitate to say that Asian Premium was historically never justified and more so not justifiable in the changed market scenario where Asian countries are the major buyers," Pradhan cited addressing the 6th OPEC International Seminar here.

He added, "Any measure that erodes the advantage of geography for Asian countries and promotes a policy of subsidising oil traffic to distant destinations is not, and cannot be, in the interests of sustainable development."

The world's fourth largest petroleum consumer also asked OPEC to revisit its policy of seeking letter of credit as payment guarantee from regular and bulk buyers and demanded that it consider extending the credit time for crude import.

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