India buckles under US pressure on Iranian crude issue

India buckles under US pressure on Iranian crude issue

Government to cut import by 11 per cent in 2012-13

As US sent a special envoy to India ostensibly to assess the quantum of the decline in its oil purchase from Iran, the government on Tuesday revealed to Parliament that it had set a target to cut down crude import from the sanction-hit West Asian country by 11 per cent in 2012-13.

In a written reply, Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas, R P N Singh, informed the Rajya Sabha that India imported 18.50 MMT and 17.44 MMT (provisional) of crude oil from Iran during 2010-11 and 2011-12 respectively. “The target fixed for import of crude oil from Iran for the year 2012-13 is approximately 15.5 MMT, subject to techno-commercial and other considerations,” said Singh.

Carlos Pascual, US Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs, on Tuesday had a meeting with a Indian officials led by the Joint Secretary (Americas) in the Ministry of External Affairs, Jawed Ashraf. The Indian delegation comprised officials of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Ministry of New & Renewable Energy Resources, Ministry of Power and Planning Commission.

During her visit to New Delhi on May 8, US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, had announced the US plan to send Pascual to India as a special envoy. Lauding India for cutting down its crude oil import from Iran, Clinton had said that she and her counterpart S M Krishna had discussions on potential alternative sources of hydrocarbon for India.

She had also said that Pascual’s visit to India was intended to carry on the discussions between New Delhi and Washington on the issue.

Official sources told Deccan Herald that Indian officials briefed the US delegation led by Pascual about New Delhi’s conscious effort to diversify energy sources. The Indian side is understood to have presented “the long-term projections of the country’s energy needs including key suppliers of oil & natural gas and possible external energy sources in Africa, North America and Southeast Asia”.  

Pascual and other US officials were also told that India was currently importing crude oil from 30 countries spread across different continents, ostensibly to underline the decline in its dependence on crude oil from Iran. The Islamic Republic has since long been under a range of sanctions imposed by the United Nations as well as unilaterally sanctions by the US and European Union, particularly due to the controversial nuclear programme.

The US envoy is likely to visit Mumbai on Wednesday to meet top officials of the Oil and Gas Corporations and representatives of some financial institutions. He is expected to hold discussions on the requirement for the US to consider granting a waiver to Indian financial institutions from the new sanctions it imposed to discourage purchase of oil from Iran.  

India publicly maintains that it only abides by the United Nations’ sanctions on Iran, and is not obliged to adhere to the unilateral curbs imposed by US on hydrocarbon purchase from the Islamic Republic.

New Delhi, however, has left it to the refiners to decide on quantum of imports from Iran.

Under pressure

*Government tells Parliament that it would cut down its crude import from Iran by 11 pc in 2012-13

*US send special envoy Carlos Pascual ostensibly to assess quantum of decline in India’s oil purchase from Iran

*Pascual meets officials from the ministries of petroleum and natural gas, new & renewable energy resources and power and planning commission

*Team led by Joint Secretary in ministry of external affairs Jawed Ashraf apprised the US of India’s energy needs 

*      US envoy likely to meet officials of oil and gas corporations to explore of granting waiver to Indian financial institutions 

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
Comments (+)