News ID: 139217
Published: 0728 GMT April 09, 2016

India plans $20b investment in Chabahar

India plans $20b investment in Chabahar

The visiting India's Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan said New Delhi is planning to invest some $20 billion for development of energy and petrochemical projects in Iran's Chabahar Port.

Speaking to reporters following a meeting with Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh in Tehran, Pradhan said Iran-India relationships in energy sector is no longer limited to oil imports from Iran, Shana reported.

"India is prepared to develop Chabahar Port and I will pay a visit to the region on Sunday," he said.

"Iran's cash is being kept at Indian banks and will be freed once new banking channels open up," the Indian official said.

Pradhan is heading a delegation of major private sector representatives from oil, gas, and energy fields. His visit is the first by an Indian minister following removal of sanctions as India wants more oil imports and shipments of natural gas from Iran.

Zanganeh and his Indian counterpart signed an agreement on construction of oil refineries.

According to the agreement, India will cooperate with Iran to develop Farzad B gas field in the Persian Gulf, build refineries, export of oil and oil derivatives as well as petrochemical industries.

Farzad-B gas field that was discovered by India’s ONGC Videsh, the overseas arm of the India’s state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation.

A proposal on the undersea pipeline to carry natural gas from Iran to India is also under study by an Indian firm.

Iran’s oil minister said Iran is ready to increase its oil exports to India from the current volume of 350,000 barrels per day (bpd).

“We hope that India’s imports of oil from Iran will increase now that the sanctions have been removed,” Zanganeh told Pradhan, Press TV reported.

Zangeneh also said that Tehran and New Delhi have been discussing the development of Farzad B gas field by Indian companies for a long time, expressing hope that the two countries would bring their views over the project closer during Pradhan’s visit.

The Iranian oil minister further emphasized that the Islamic Republic is ready to facilitate energy ties with India in several areas including providing natural gas to Indian petrochemical projects as well as other energy-intensive projects in Iran.

Top on the agenda of talks between Iran and India during Pradhan’s visit was the settlement of debts that Indian companies owe Iran for previous oil imports from the country.

Indications appeared in the media in early March that the two sides have come across differences over settling of the debts.

The difference reportedly involves the foreign exchange rate for the sum that India owes Iran.

Iran sold oil to refiners like Essar Oil and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL) in US dollar per barrel. Around 45% of the oil bill was paid in rupees in a UCO Bank account while the rest 55% was to be cleared whenever banking channels open with the removal of the anti-Iran sanctions, reported the Business Standard on 6 March.



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