• Indian Oil Team Holds Fresh Talks on Farzad-B

    Senior Iranian and Indian officials met in Tehran on Tuesday to discuss and settle a recent dispute over oil and gas ties. The meeting was held between Amirhossein Zamaninia, deputy oil minister for international affairs, and an Indian mission, led by Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Shana, the Oil Ministry news service reported. Following the lifting of international curbs against Tehran last year, Indian company ONGC Videsh Ltd. ramped up efforts to secure the development rights of Farzad-B, a large gas reservoir in the Persian Gulf. But Tehran says the ONGC proposals are not financially attractive.

    In response to the rebuff, Indian state refiners announced plans to cut crude oil imports from Iran by a quarter in fiscal 2017-18, a measure that led to an exchange of strong words between the two governments. “Senior officials in both countries are willing to discuss and find an agreement over the Farzad B project,” Zamaninia was quoted as saying. “The two sides agreed to a meeting between representatives of ONGC Videsh (OVL) and National Iranian Oil Company executives, including chief executive officer Ali Kardor and deputy for development and engineering, Alireza Manouchehri,” he said.

    The field was discovered by a consortium of Indian companies in 2008, but they could not obtain the field’s development rights due to international economic restrictions imposed over Iran’s nuclear dispute. Unsettled oil dues of private Indian refiners as well as schemes to carry Iran’s natural gas to India were also discussed. Last month, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh underlined India as one of the “good costumers” of Iranian oil, but asserted that “We cannot sign a contract under threat.” Both sides had hoped to wrap up the Farzad-B deal by March. But as it turned out, hope alone was not enough. Iran has also asked other countries to submit their proposals for developing the huge oilfield. Dion Lewis Jersey

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