Iran to continue crude supply to India

Iran Materials 18 January 2011 10:45 (UTC +04:00)

Iran will continue to supply crude oil to India until a final settlement on a payments issue is reached, Indian Oil Secretary S. Sundareshan said on Monday.

He did not disclose further details of the likely settlement.

India's central bank said in December payments to Iran could no longer be done through a long-standing clearinghouse system run by regional central banks, prompting fears of stoppage of crude imports from Iran

India hopes to resolve the oil payment row with Iran when officials travel to Tehran this week, Oil Secretary S. Sundareshan said on January 11, as New Delhi looks to balance its energy needs with its diplomatic interests.

"Iran payment is very, very important for the ministry of petroleum and natural gas and oil companies, including private companies. We are in discussions with NIOC (National Iranian Oil Company) to resolve the issue," Sundareshan said.

Earlier in January three crude oil tankers from Iran, OPEC's second-biggest oil producer, sailed for India's west coast while the nations discussed ways to resolve a gridlock over payments for the fuel.

Sundareshan said on December 30 that India imports about 21 million tons of crude from Iran annually. The Middle East nation is India's biggest supplier after Saudi Arabia, Oil Minister Murli Deora said on April 15.

Iran pumped 3.7 million barrels of crude a day in December, making it the second-largest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, according to a Bloomberg survey. The other countries in the 12-member group are Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.