Iran ready to invest in major Indian refinery: Ambassador

Press TV – Iran’s ambassador to India has said that his country would not halt planned investment in a major Indian refinery despite US sanctions that have affected the country’s oil incomes.

Ali Chegini said on Tuesday that Iran will continue to hold its stakes in Chennai Petroleum, a subsidiary of Indian Oil Corp, as the former seeks to build a refinery in Southern Tamil Nadu state with a projected capacity of 180,000 barrels per day.

“We have announced our readiness for that (to invest in the refinery),” said Chegini, adding, “We have no limit to work with India whether investment, whether any kind of joint venture, we are ready for that.”

The comments, covered in the Economic Times, a major Indian newspaper, comes amid reports that Iran and India are developing new mechanisms to keep their long-run trade and energy ties despite sanctions that have forced India to cut to zero its official oil imports from Iran.

India used to be Iran’s second top oil buyer after China until May when US ended waivers granted to the country for import of oil from Iran. The government in New Delhi has said, however, that it will deposit the money owed to Iran for oil imports in a rupee account with India’s UCO bank so that exporters and importers could continue their businesses with Iran.

Chegini’s announcement comes as many had questioned whether Iran would be able to carry out its contribution to the South Indian refinery given the reported financial difficulties the country is facing back home.

The ambassador also said that Iran’s Bank Pasargad would soon open a branch in India to facilitate rupee transactions involving Iran’s oil money.