International Energy Agency (IEA) has invited India, the world's third-largest energy consumer, to become its full-time member - a proposal if accepted will require New Delhi to raise strategic oil reserves to 90 days requirement.
Oil Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Monday said he held online discussions with IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol.
"As a natural corollary to the India IEA strategic partnership, Dr Birol invited India to deepen its cooperation with IEA by becoming a full Member," Puri tweeted without saying if the full-time member was acceptable to the government or not.
India in March 2017 became an associate member of the Paris-based body which advises industrialised nations on energy policies.
In January this year, IEA members and India agreed to enter into a strategic partnership, strengthening their collaboration across a range of vital areas including energy security and clean energy transition.
On its website, IEA states that "India is becoming increasingly influential in global energy trends."
Its in-depth report on India's energy policies, which was released in January 2020, states that the country's demand for energy is set to grow rapidly in the coming decades, with electricity use set to increase particularly fast.
The country's reliance on fuel imports makes further improving energy security a key priority for the Indian economy, IEA had said in the report.
IEA is made up of 30 member countries and eight associate nations. Four countries are seeking accession to full membership - Chile, Colombia, Israel and Lithuania.
According to IEA, a member country must maintain "crude oil and/or product reserves equivalent to 90 days of the previous year's net imports, to which the government has immediate access (even if it does not own them directly) and could be used to address disruptions to global oil supply."
India's current strategic oil reserves equal 9.5 days of its requirement.
Also, a member of IEA has to show "a demand restraint programme to reduce national oil consumption by up to 10%."
India has the fastest-growing energy market in the world.
"Had a productive online conversation with Dr @ieabirol, Executive Director @IEA. Dr. Birol lauded India's major achievements under Hon'ble @narendramodi Ji to improve energy access for its citizens like PM Ujjwala Yojana & UJALA schemes," Puri tweeted referring to the government scheme to provide free cooking gas connections to poor households.
The IEA was founded in 1974 by industrialised countries - within the framework of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) - in response to the oil embargo.
"As a result, countries seeking to become members of the IEA must also be members of the OECD and hold 90 days of oil imports as commercial stocks," IEA said on its website. "But over the years, the IEA's mission has expanded substantially and today the agency is working with major economies around the world to enhance energy security and to help accelerate their clean energy transitions."
Starting in 2015, the IEA has been opening its doors to major emerging economies that are at the centre of the global conversation on energy.
Since then, eight countries have joined the IEA's Association programme: Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Morocco, Singapore, South Africa and Thailand. Along with the 30 members and the countries formally seeking accession, this expanded IEA now represents 75% of global energy demand, the website said.