United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Tuesday promised additional supplies of LPG to help meet the government's three free cooking gas cylinders to poor during April-June.
Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said he spoke to UAE Minister and Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (Adnoc) chief executive Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber.
"At my request, Dr Jaber assured me of additional LPG supplies from @AdnocGroup to meet the free supply of three LPG refills during April-June period to over 8 crore Ujjwala (PMUY) beneficiaries as part of the economic package announced by the Government," Pradhan tweeted.
Indian refineries have cut run-rates in view of slump in fuel demand resulting from an unprecedented nationwide lockdown that has shut businesses, suspended flights, stopped trains and driven most vehicles off-road.
But the reduced run-rates of refineries also means the lower output of LPG. Cooking gas demand has, however, seen a surge and India is relying on imports to keep supply lines going.
UAE not just supplies crude oil to India but is also a major source of LPG.
As part of its economic stimulus to help poor overcome hardships caused by a three-week nationwide lockdown, the government has promised 3 cylinders of 14.2-kg each to poor women who got free cooking gas connections under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana since 2016.
Besides cooking gas, the government is also giving free foodgrains to poor and cash to some.
Pradhan had previously spoken to Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman for additional LPG supplies.
"Had an excellent meeting with my good friend MoS and @AdnocGroup CEO H.E Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber via video conferencing," Pradhan said. "Have assured of full support in the sourcing of crude oil from @AdnocGroup for India's strategic petroleum reserves."
He said the comprehensive strategic partnership with the UAE has grown from strength to strength and the two nations have "agreed to work closely in the coming days to strengthen India's energy security, including in our strategic petroleum reserves program".
Last month, Indian Oil Corp (IOC) and Mangalore Refineries and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL) had declared force majeure on crude purchases from the Middle East on plummeting fuel demand.