By Mehdi Sepahvand
New Delhi is ready to invest $20 billion in Iran’s Chabahar port, India’s Minister of Oil Dharmendra Pradhan said in Tehran.
He also announced his plan to visit the port the following day to better inspect the zone, SHANA news agency reported April 9.
India is helping develop the Chabahar port, which will give it access to the oil and gas resources in Iran and the Central Asian states. By doing so, India hopes to compete with the Chinese, who are building Gwadar port in Pakistani Balochistan.
Energy relations between Iran and India are underway in quite a few fields and are no more limited to oil imports, Dharmendra noted.
Regarding Indian oil debts owed to Iran, he said once the talks with the Central Bank of Iran are finalized, New Delhi will repay the debts.
Since February 2013, India’s Mangalore Petrochemicals and Essar Oil used to pay Iran for the oil they received, 45 percent in rupees and 55 percent in euros. The revenues have been blocked under the international sanctions.
Last year, the two companies settled about $3 billion of their debts to Iran in six installments, following the beginning of Iran’s talks with the P5+1 group (the US, UK, France, Russia, China, and Germany) to reach a nuclear deal.
Essar Oil has to pay Iran about $3.1 billion, Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd owes $2.8 billion, and Indian Oil Corp owes $581 million.
HPCL-Mittal Energy Ltd (HMEL) has to pay $97 million and Hindustan Petroleum Corp owes $29 million.