Giving a strong signal on the ties with Iran, India has asked the Gulf nation to reciprocate on gas field award, discovered by ONGC Videsh Limited. Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan categorically said in the tough times, India supported Iran and bought maximum oil to help the Gulf nation.
"Now, India wants Iran to reciprocate on gas field award," he said on the sidelines of an event organised to announce the Joint Venture between Indian Oil, Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum to set world's largest refinery in Ratnagiri, Maharashtra. "Having stood by Iran in its tough times, India expects Tehran to reciprocate by awarding rights of the coveted Farzad-B gas field to its discoverer, ONGC," Mr Pradhan said.
He said, "We value relationships. During difficult days of Iran, when the entire west imposed sanctions, we stood by them and bought substantial amount of crude oil. We also returned every penny when the banking channels reopened."He said, "We have that much expectation from Iran. I hope Iran will comply with that. Our relationship with Iran is not based on a single commodity or a single transaction."The tough and firm statement from Mr Pradhan has come at a time when Iran is delaying the award of rights to develop the 12.5 trillion cubic feet gas field to its discoverer, OVL. Following this, India decided to cut oil imports from Iran by a fifth in 2017-18.
ONGC Videsh Ltd, the overseas investment arm of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) had submitted 5.5 billion dollar master development plan, but Iran has signed an initial pact with Russia's Gazprom for developing Farzad-B gas field, ignoring ONGC Videsh Limited. On the other hand, Iran is unhappy with the 5.5 billion dollar investment plan of OVL as it will have to reimburse all of the money that is invested, together with a fixed rate of return.
Tehran wants the investment to be lowered and OVL commit to buying gas at a price fixed by it. Iran, India's third biggest oil supplier, used to give a 90-day credit period to refiners like Indian Oil Corp (IOC) and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL) to pay for the oil they would buy from it. Now, Tehran has reduced this to 60 days, essentially meaning that IOC and MRPL would have to pay for the oil they buy from Iran in 60 days instead of previous liberal term of 90 days, they said.