Narendra Modi

Indian PM discusses Iran oil imports with his ministers

IRNA – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed ways of continuing oil imports with Minister of Finance Aron Jaitly and Minister of Oil Dharmandra Pradan.

Asian Aga newspaper in a report said, ‘India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a meeting with oil and finance ministers and CEOs of Indian Oil companies asked for increase of domestic oil production and reduce imports.’

The issues arising from US sanctions on Iran and how to deal with it was also discussed during the meeting, said sources.

The possibility of using new technologies to boost oil production from ageing oil fields too was discussed.

Modi had in March 2015 called for bringing down India’s import dependence on oil and gas to 67 per cent of its requirement by 2022.

The Economic Times in another article writes, ‘India is seeking $1.5 billion of investments from global oil producers and traders to build additional emergency crude reserves that will act as a buffer against volatility in oil prices.

The plan is to build underground caverns that can hold a combined 6.5 million tons of crude.

The rise in oil prices in global markets means a rise in fuel prices in the Indian domestic market. At present, the price of petrol and diesel in India has increased unprecedentedly.

The total crude oil demand in India is about 4.6 million barrels per day, placing it at the top three largest consumers of oil in the world after the United States and China.

The country needs a lot of energy due to rapid economic growth, a rise in the middle class of society, and an increase in the purchase of motor vehicles.

The International Energy Agency (IAEA) predicts that by 2040 India will consume a quarter of global energy production.

“Telegraph India” said, ‘India had cut oil prices Rs 2.50 a litre by reducing taxes by Rs 1.50 a litre and asking oil marketers to cut prices by another Rs 1 a litre. However, the subsequent crude oil price increase has negated the impact.

Ahead of the state polls, the government is keen to rein in runaway oil prices, but the finance ministry is against any more tax giveaways, said officials.

The falling value of the rupee has made India’s imports of crude costlier by an estimated $26 billion for this fiscal.

India has decided to continue its imports from Iran in a limited manner as well as step up investments to increase oil and gas output.

The imports from Iran will be paid in euros and through a rupee payment mechanism, said the officials.

Officials said the government will continue to import crude from Iran, in effect ignoring US pressures, but would reduce import volumes in the coming months once alternate sellers at “similar prices” could be found.

India’s dependence on crude imports has been rising and stands at 83.2 per cent of its requirement, up from 77 per cent about 5 years ago. The sanctions imposed by the US on Iran has been compounding the problems.

India imported 528,000 bpd (barrels per day) of Iranian oil in September. Saudi Arabia, has promised to deliver an extra 4 million barrels in November, in a bid to replace Iran in the Indian market. However, officials said Iranian imports remained cheaper despite the higher insurance cover being paid for them.

“We will try taper it (oil imports from Iran) off, but to stop imports by November 4 is not possible and we will be stating that position to the US officials from state and energy departments who are expected to meet us later this month,” said officials.

The NDTV news network reported on Indian Prime Minister’s meeting with high ranking officials, quoting an unnamed Indian official, ‘The PM’s meeting in the morning was on petroleum issues. The discussion centered around increasing domestic oil production, subsidy borne by oil marketing companies (OMCs) and reducing oil imports to cut down the current account deficit,’

On domestic oil production, Petroleum Minister Pradhan on October 1 said Rs. 5,900 crore( approx. 800 million dollars) of investment had been committed for the exploration of 55 oil and gas blocks.