India's interest will be paramount: Oil ministry on Iran sanctions

In wake of the recent sanctions on Iran, a major supplier of crude for India, the oil ministry clarified no decision has been taken on its sourcing policy for Iran and India’s interest will be paramount.

“When we decide on (cut down on Iran's imports), we will inform. Certain things are not to be judged on opinion by somebody's reaction. India is a stable economy, a mature democracy, our leadership is a vigilant leadership and we will go by our interests,” said Dharmendra Pradhan, Union minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas.

Commenting on India’s crude sourcing efforts, Pradhan said, “Our basket is a multi-country basket. Our crude basket is open to the world for competitive prices.” He added, “We have highlighted this at OPEC, for few reasons, no producing country, whoever they may be, they cannot simply ignore my requirement or my expectation. It has to be mutual.” Pradhan was addressing a road show ahead of the bidding for the ninth round for city gas distributions (CGD) s in the country.

On the proposed unbundling of GAIL’s business operations, Pradhan said, “GAIL is coming out with a model where the pipeline business and their marketing business will be two different verticals.” He added the aim is to ensure there is no conflict of interest and there is transparency between GAIL’s pipeline business and its marketing business.

On Maharashtra’s proposed 60 million tonne capacity refinery project, which is currently facing local opposition Pradhan said he is confident the refinery will be set up. The ambitious project has been at the receiving end of local protests over environmental concerns, loss of livelihood and land prices. Pradhan added the concerns are unfounded and they will be addressed through proper channels of dialogue.

Part of the plans for Maharashtra, is a gas pipeline along the proposed Mumbai-Nagpur Expressway. Maharashtra Government has made a proposal to develop a gas pipeline along the stretch of the proposed Expressway, where right of way is already available. Pradhan said, the proposal has been received and is under Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB)’s consideration.

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