New Delhi, May 22 -- The Indian government has made an unusual request to its state-owned oil refiners and the private company Reliance Industries Ltd. to collectively negotiate a long-term supply agreement with Russia, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The proposal calls for the refiners to secure at least one-third of their contracted oil supply from Russia at a fixed discounted rate.

This move aims to insulate the nation's economy from volatile global oil prices, said the sources, who requested anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the talks. The government's appeal for collaboration was informal.

However, Reliance Industries is unlikely to share sensitive commercial information with the state-run refiners, as they ...