Indian refiners, govt meet on Iran oil payments
Indian refiners and oil ministry officials are meeting today to discuss alternative methods to pay for Iranian oil imports should an existing mechanism via Turkey's Halkbank be halted under US sanctions against Tehran.delhi Updated: Jan 09, 2012 15:11 IST
Indian refiners and oil ministry officials are meeting on Monday to discuss alternative methods to pay for Iranian oil imports should an existing mechanism via Turkey's Halkbank be halted under US sanctions against Tehran.
Financial sanctions signed into law by President Barack Obama on New Year's Eve make it difficult for pay for Iranian oil. The European Union is expected to announce tough measures of its own at the end of the month.
"The meeting is on finance related matters as far as supplies from Iran are concerned. We think Halkbank will soon stop helping us because of sanctions," an industry source said on condition of anonymity.
A government official also said the meeting is to explore alternative modes of payment for Iranian supplies.
Halkbank has already refused to open an account for state-refiner Bharat Petroleum Corp for Iran oil imports.
Iran has so far not cut supplies to India, the chairman of Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemical Ltd, the biggest Indian client of Iran, said last week.
Indian companies have begun talks with alternative suppliers to slowly replace some of the 350,000 barrels a day (bpd) of oil they buy from Iran.
India is talking to a Russian bank as an alternative to Halkbank, a government source had said last month.
Washington and its allies are imposing the measures to force Iran to abandon a nuclear programme which they say is aimed at producing an atomic bomb. Iran says the programme is peaceful.
India imports 400,000 barrels a day of crude -- worth about $12 billion a year -- from Iran, making it India's seventh largest trading partner.
India-Iran annual crude deals run from April to March.