The glut-induced free fall in crude oil prices in the international markets would not last long, says the Organization of the Petroleum Countries (OPEC).

"The current price situation will not continue... there will be less supply coming to the market. Over the past year, there has been a reduction of $130 billion in investments for fresh production," OPEC secretary general Abdalla Salem el-Badri told reporters in New Delhi on Tuesday.

"Supplies are declining at the rate of 400,000 barrels a day," Badri added.

He was in New Delhi for the first-ever India-OPEC institutional dialogue, reports IANS.

Falling crude oil prices have come as a boon for India, which imports about 80%  of its crude oil requirements. India's crude oil import bill was $112.74 billion last financial year. The fall in prices is expected to result in a savings of about 25% and reduce the trade deficit at a time when exports have been falling consistently.

The Indian basket of crude oil prices fell below $35 ($34.79) per barrel on 14 December, from $35.72 on 11 December, according to the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC), Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. 

The persistent fall in crude oil prices globally is the result of the inability of OPEC countries to a production cut at their meeting on 4 December in Vienna.

"India has conveyed to OPEC its need for reasonable and responsible pricing of oil and this is an ongoing dialogue," Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said.

"By not cutting production and keeping prices low, OPEC is helping countries like India," he added.

India is the world's 3rd largest importer of crude oil, after the United States and China. The country's imports from OPEC countries constitute 85% of the total crude oil imports and 94% of gas imports.

Earlier in the day, the OPEC delegation led by secretary general Abdalla Salem El-Badri had a meeting with Pradhan during which it was agreed that such annual dialogue between India and OPEC should be continued in future.

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