India on Saturday sought from Iran a stake in a producing oil field and said it will raise crude oil import from Iran in the financial year beginning April, reversing the 25 per cent reduction it had done in the current fiscal.
Visiting Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zangeneh, after talks with his Indian counterpart Dharmendra Pradhan, said he was "optimistic" about signing of an agreement awarding rights of Iran's giant Farzad-B gas field to its discoverer, ONGC Videsh Ltd.
He said Indian public and private sector oil companies will in 2018-19 fiscal buy 0.5 million barrels of crude oil per day (25 million tonnes).
This will be 25 per cent more than current fiscal imports estimated at 370,000 barrels per day (18.5 MT).
India had for the current fiscal cut oil imports from Iran by nearly 25 per cent over delays in award of Farzad-B development rights to OVL. In 2016-17, India had imported 510,000 barrels per day (25.5 million tonnes) of oil from Iran.
"I am very optimistic about the future of the relationship between the two countries and our companies especially for oil and gas fields development," the Iranian Oil Minister said after the meeting.
He said he was optimistic of signing the agreement with Indian companies for developing Farzad-B" within 2018.
On the timelines, he said, "We agreed that next week the Indian team will come to Tehran for finalising some of the points."
Pradhan said Iran has given "good incentives" on crude oil exports to India. "It will be beneficial for India to buy more crude from Iran rather than from other countries. We have agreed that India will buy more crude oil from Iran in coming days."
Like the recent acquisition of 10 per cent stake in 20 million tonnes a year producing oil field in UAE, India made a case for a stake in a producing Iranian oil field, he said adding on Indian horizon was a field like South Azadegan.
"Thirdly, the deadlock we had on the viability of Farzad-B block, its size of capex, return, timeline, we discussed all the three issues.
We have exchanged our positions. Next week our business delegation will go to Tehran to discuss all these issues," he said.
The two sides, he said, decided to remove "all the bottlenecks on all the three issues. On the capex, business model and timeline. We have decided today to reopen and re-engage on all three issues again."
A joint statement issued after talks between visiting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Prime Minister Narendra Modi today too called for reaching "appropriate results" on the award of the gas field.
"Noting the complementarity of interests and natural partnership in the energy sector, it was agreed to move beyond traditional buyer-seller relationship and develop it into a long term strategic partnership, both sides agreed to continue and increase the pace of negotiation for reaching appropriate results on energy cooperation, including Farzad B gas field," the joint statement said.