Indian oil minister vows to work with Saudi, UAE to calm oil mkts

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's new oil minister Hardeep Singh Puri vowed to work with oil producers Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates to reduce volatility in oil markets and make crude prices affordable.

Veteran diplomat Puri, who took charge of India's oil ministry last week, on Thursday spoke to Saudi oil minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, a day after his conversation with Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE's minister of Industry and chief executive of Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC).

"I conveyed my desire to work with His Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz to bring greater predictability and calm in the global oil markets, and also to see hydrocarbons become more affordable", Puri tweeted after a telephonic conversation with his Saudi counterpart.

Relations between Riyadh and New Delhi came under strain this year after Puri's predecessor, Dharmendra Pradhan, blamed production cuts by Saudi Arabia and others for driving up oil prices.

India, the world's third biggest oil consumer and oil importer, is facing record high retail prices of gasoline and gasoil.

Puri said New Delhi would like to expand its relations with Riyadh to "beyond buyer-seller to see greater two way investment".

Saudi Arabia is the second biggest oil supplier to India after Iraq.

Saudi Aramco is in talks to acquire a 20% stake in oil-to-chemical business of Relinace Industries, operator of the world's biggest refining complex.

Aramco and ADNOC are partners with Indian state run refiners in a joint venture that plans to build a giant refining and petrochemical complex on India's west coast.

ADNOC has also leased a part of India's strategic petroleum reserves.

(Reporting by Nidhi Verma; Editing by David Gregorio)

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