India seeks more crude, LNG from Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Qatar
BY RAKESH SHARMA
NEW DELHI--India has sought more crude oil and liquefied natural gas from Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Qatar as the U.S. and European Union sanctions against Tehran are posing significant challenges in sourcing oil from Iran.
India has also sought more time from Iran to settle the terms of a proposed service contract to develop Phase 12 of the giant South Pars gas field in the Persian Gulf, an oil ministry statement said Thursday.
The South Asian nation raised its demand for additional cargoes during meetings between Oil Minister Jaipal Reddy and the energy ministers of Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Qatar in Vienna, where members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries are discussing their production quotas.
Indian refiners plan to cut oil imports from Iran by 11% to 310,000 barrels a day in the current financial year that began April 1 as the U.S. and the European Union tighten sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear program.
Although the U.S. this week exempted India and some other countries from the sanctions, transporting crude from Iran is getting trickier as shipping companies rely on U.S. and European firms to provide insurance coverage -- arrangements that are now much more difficult to secure than they were earlier.
India, which has a refining capacity of 4.26 million barrels a day, meets more than 80% of the crude oil it requires through imports, making it highly reliant on oil exporters.
Mr. Reddy asked Saudi Oil Minister Ali Naimi for 100,000 barrels a day more crude for the current financial year from the 640,000 barrels a day it supplied last year. He also asked for an additional 1.5 million metric tons of cooking gas for the current year.
Saudi Arabia is India's largest supplier of crude oil and cooking gas.
He also sought more crude and liquefied natural gas from Algeria and Qatar.
On the South Pars field, the ministry said Mr. Reddy has sought more time during his meeting with Iran's petroleum minister, Rostam Ghasemi.
According to the statement, Mr. Ghasemi said he would advise Iran Offshore Oil Co. to resolve all pending issues and concerns over the contract.
A consortium led by India's state-run Oil & Natural Gas Corp. (500312.BY) holds a stake in South Pars 12. The consortium has been facing problems in raising funds to develop the field.
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