IRANIAN - INDIAN TIES
SHANA - Iranian Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh, reacting to recent threat by India to cut oil purchases from Iran, said the demand for Iran's crude oil is more than it can supply for the time being.
Speaking to reporters following a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, the official described India as one of Iran's good customers, but stressed that New Delhi cutting its oil purchase from Iran would not cause any trouble for Tehran as the country has more demand for its oil than can produce.
"Iran is keen on enhancing its ties with India," the official said, however.
New Delhi has threatened Indian state refiners will cut oil imports from Iran in 2017/18 by a fifth, as the two countries have reached an impasse in development of a giant gas field in Iran by an Indian consortium, sources familiar with the matter said.
India, Iran's biggest oil buyer after China, was among countries that continued to deal with OPEC-member Iran despite Western sanctions over Tehran's nuclear program.
India's oil ministry has asked state refiners to cut imports of Iranian oil.
"We are cutting gradually, and we will cut more if there is no progress in the matter of the award of Farzad B gas field to our company," one of the Indian sources said.
Reacting to the Indian official's remarks, Zangeneh said the Indian consortium failed to hand over the result of its studies for development of the gas field by December 2016, two-month extension of a September 2016 deadline.
"Iran has corresponded with the Indians who finally submitted a proposal that would bring Iran no revenues after 30 years of operating the field," added the Iranian official.
He stressed that by developing fields Iran seeks profits not just oil and gas.
"We cannot sign a 30-year deal out of fear from threats. No progress can be made under such circumstances," he said. "We are keen on enhancing our ties with India in field development projects and oil and petrochemical trade, but threatening is not a suitable language [for dealing with other countries]."
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