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India, Iran hold talks on energy ties

Posted: 14 May 2003

Signifying a firm step towards energy security for India, Petroleum Minister Ram Naik on Sunday held preliminary talks with his Iranian counterpart Bijan Namdar Zanganeh regarding bilateral cooperation in the hydrocarbon sector.

Naik expressed India’s interest in acquiring a stake in oil fields in Iran when he called on the Iranian minister. He also offered India’s expertise in using CNG as an automobile fuel based on the successful experiment in Delhi.

Naik, who is on a three-day visit here, is accompanied by the Indian delegation, was told by Zanganeh that Tehran was keen on selling LNG to New Delhi and the possibility of a direct pipeline to India should be explored.

Both ministers expressed optimism that during the talks over the next two days, a framework for long-term cooperation in the hydrocarbon sector will be reached. India, Asia’s third biggest energy consumer, will also look at taking some of Iranian oil fields on a nomination basis and opportunities for Indian firms in upstream sector.

India imports nearly 70 per cent of its needs in energy including 5 million tones of crude oil from Iran.

Iranian President Mohammed Khatami during his visit to India last January signed a memorandum of understanding with New Delhi on possible investment in Iranian oil sector.

Iran has been interested in promoting the 2600 km gas pipeline at a cost of 3.5 billion dollars, a proposal that has been hanging fire since 1994.

The Indian delegation accompanying Naik includes M S Srinivasam, Additional Secretary in Ministry of Petroleum, Subir Raha, ONGC CMD, M S Ramachandran, IOC chairman and B S Negi, GAIL director.
(Asia Financial Daily)


Posted by Richard Price, Editor

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