(Corrects name of Iranian minister in 4th paragraph)
By Nidhi Verma
NEW DELHI, May 27 (Reuters) - Iran has offered insurance for
Indian refiners to boost its crude sales, industry sources said
on Monday, as the Islamic nation looks to counter a fall in
revenues hit by tough western sanctions.
U.S. and European Union sanctions aimed at choking the flow
of oil money into Iran and forcing Tehran to negotiate curbing
its controversial nuclear programme slashed its crude exports in
half in 2012, costing it as much as $5 billion a month.
The sanctions have forced refiners in India, Iran's
second-largest oil buyer, to reduce imports because Indian
insurers have said they can no longer cover refineries that
process Iranian crude.
"They (Iran) said they can provide insurance for our
refineries," said one of the sources, after a meeting between
Indian Oil Minister Veerappa Moily with his Iranian counterpart
"We had a fruitful meeting...Our meetings are about the
energy sector," Qasemi told reporters, without elaborating.
Qasemi is on a three-day visit to India from Sunday to woo
New Delhi for stepping up oil imports and invest in the
OPEC-member's oil and gas sector.
Two refiners - Hindustan Petroleum Corp, and
Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd - halted
Iranian oil purchases in April due to insurance problems.
India cut imports of Iranian oil by 26.5 percent in the
fiscal year which ended March 31, and had reduced shipments by
56.5 percent in April, according to data from trade sources.
Sources said Qasemi also offered a production-sharing
contract to Indian firms to develop the Farzad B gas field in
the Farsi block and asked New Delhi to boost exports to Tehran
to fix a trade imbalance.
Iran also offered to ship gas to India in liquefied form via
Oman, they said. Iran does not have the technology to liquefy
gas so they have asked India to use Oman for liquefying the gas
for further supplies to New Delhi, said a second source.
"Both of us expressed our desire to continue with business
with each other. We need to nurture business with them...there
are problems which will be sorted out," said Moily after the
India has asked Iran to participate in tenders seeking oil
supplies for its strategic storage, they said. India aims to
build its strategic oil storage at two places with a combined
capacity of 18.55 million barrels in the first quarter of 2014.
(Reporting by Nidhi Verma; editing by Jason Neely)