Economic Times: April, 2016
New Delhi: Eyeing to step up energy partnership in the post-sanctions period India and Iran have signed an agreement that involves crude oil imports, petrochemical complexes and gas fields development besides Delhi making an announcement of $20 billion for strategic Chabahar Port complex during ongoing two-day visit of Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan to Tehran.
Pradhan who met his Iranian counterpart Bijan Zanganeh in Tehran Saturday also discussed on increasing India's import of Iranian oil from its current 350,000 barrels a day. "We hope this number will increase now that sanctions have been lifted," Zanganeh told Iranian news agency Shana after his meeting with Pradhan.
A high-level delegation of Indian major oil and energy firms who accompanied the Minister, also evinced interest in Iran's oil, gas and petrochemical projects, government sources here said.
The two ministers signed a cooperation agreement encompassing oil exports, petrochemical operations and gas-field development on the occasion, sources said.
Pradhan addressing a joint press conference on Saturday with his Iranian counterpart said, "Iran and India's energy ties are no longer limited to crude oil imports," and that India was ready to invest $20 billion in the port of Chabahar in Southeastern Iran. He added that "energy sector can be determining in development of Tehran-New Delhi relations." India has already extended over $ 100 million Line of Credit for berths and jetties at Chabahar.
India's participation at Farzad-B gas field topped discussions between the two Ministers, sources informed. Last year ONGC submitted a proposal of $ 3 billion for development of Farzad-B field.
In fact the most important item in Zanganeh discussions with Pradhan was the investment to develop Farzad-B offshore gas field, sources said. "It was decided that Iranian and Indian sides agree on the schedule of implementing the project which is a demanding job and take time," sources quoting the Iranian Minister said.
Post sanction Iran wants to cultivate closer ties with countries in the East and India's close relationship with Iran is an added advantage, Iranian government sources said, adding the Minister also discussed pending oil payments issue by India with the banking authorities in Tehran.