|Indian oil, foreign ministries to discuss increasing Iran crude imports||
NEW DELHI-- Officials from the foreign and petroleum ministries, led by their respective ministers, to meet to consider a proposal to buy more crude from Iran—a move that could save the nation billions of dollars in foreign exchange.
With global crude prices rising again, India is considering increasing imports from Iran. In addition, India pays for the crude in rupees and not dollars, which has become more expensive.
According to the external affairs ministry, India sources 180 million tons (mt) of crude oil annually from abroad, and Iran has is the eighth or ninth position out of the top 10 sources of imports.
External affairs minister Salman Khurshid said on Tuesday that he will meet petroleum minister M. Veerappa Moily to consider his suggestion to buy more crude from Iran, but cautioned that India would have to carefully weigh many issues, including the mode of payment, before taking a decision.
Moily, according to media reports, recently wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh advocating importing about 11 mt of crude oil from Iran, worth a saving of $8.5 billion in foreign exchange.
Energy-starved India imports nearly 80% of its fuel requirements. In 2012, India was the fourth largest energy consumer with a consumption of 563 million tons of oil equivalent.
India pays Tehran in rupees, unlike other countries, but has been reducing supplies from Iran to ensure Indian financial institutions are not cut off from the U.S. financial system, should Washington retaliate.
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