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Indo-Iranian Dispute On Farzad-B Inches Closer To Resolution

In a step forward for Indo-Iranian relations, senior level officials from both countries convened in Tehran to discuss the resolution to a dispute regarding the oil and gas sectors.

Iranian Deputy Oil Minister Amirhossein Zamaninia spoke with the Indian delegation, led by Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, according to Iran’s oil industry press agency Shana.

"Senior officials in both countries are willing to discuss and find an agreement over the Farzad B project," Zamaninia said. "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.”

The foreign wing of the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. of India began the process of acquiring the rights to develop the Farzad-B block in the Persian Gulf back when sanctions against Tehran were lifted last year. It is estimated to contain over 350 billion cubic meters of natural gas, with a productive life of 30 years. Iran argues that the ONGC’s $3 billion proposal to work in the natural gas reservoir are not financially attractive, and the government had begun soliciting bids from other companies to develop the field.

As a result, New Delhi had instructed local refiners to shrink the input from Iran to 190,000 barrels daily from 240,000 bpd – close to half of the total daily import rate for Iranian crude for the period from April 2016 to this February. In fact, Iran managed to get to the  number 3 spot among the top crude oil exporters to India, after Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

A group of Indian companies discovered the field back in 2008, but international sanctions blocking Iran’s participation in global oil markets prevented the reserves from being developed further.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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