Official: Iran in talks to buy Indian refinery

Iran has started negotiations to buy equity stake in India’s Essar Refinery, with similar talks also held with European, South American and Asian companies, Deputy Petroleum Minister Abbas Kazemi says.

“Buying refineries or shares of big refining companies are one of Iran’s oil policies in the post-sanction period,” said Kazemi, who is also the managing director of the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company (NIORDC).

“Accordingly, negotiations have been held with India’s Essar Refinery,” he said of the country’s second largest private oil refiner, quoted by the Mehr news agency.

India is the second biggest client of Iranian crude after China. Essar depends heavily on Iran to feed its Vadinar refinery of 400,000 barrels per day.

“The National Iranian Oil Company seeks to invest in the refineries which will process Iran’s crude oil. This is also economical,” Kazemi said.

In July, Russia’s top oil producer Rosneft was reported to have signed a preliminary agreement to acquire 49% of shares in Essar Oil.

NIOC Managing Director Roknoddin Javadi confirmed Iran’s talks, saying negotiations have been also held with African companies.

“Iran’s crude oil must be sent to the markets where there are reliable and long-term customers,” he said.

“The more we have a presence in target oil markets, the better our exposure will be guaranteed and established,” Javadi added.

Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh described the talks as “serious”.

“If we manage to buy shares in foreign refineries, we can sell our oil at higher prices,” he told a news conference in Tehran.

Iran’s push to buy oil refineries abroad comes as the country prepares for the lifting of Western sanctions which cut its exports by half. Officials say long-term contracts with foreign buyers would insulate sales against possible future hiccups.

By Press TV