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India will take a call on its imports from Iran based on its own interest and not under pressure, oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Thursday, responding to the US call to cut imports from Iran.
“We will decide. Certain things are not to be judged on the opinions or somebody’s reaction,” Pradhan said. “India is a very stable market and matured economy. India’s leadership is very vigilant, and we will go by our interest,” he told reporters here.
The US has told all countries, including India and China, to stop their oil imports from Iran by November 4 or face sanctions. Indian government has not commented on this issue yet. The government has maintained that it does not accept unilateral sanctions, such as the one imposed by the US on Iran, but follows the sanctions by United Nations.
But industry sources have been talking about public sector oil companies looking at cutting down their sourcing from Iran, primarily because domestic banks have expressed discomfort in transactions with Iran.
“We have a multi-country energy basket,” Pradhan said. “We source crude oil from across the globe at competitive prices. No oil producing country, whoever they may be, can ignore my requirement or my expectation. My interest is paramount to me,” he said.
Talking on the sidelines of the ninth bidding round for city gas distribution in the country, Pradhan said he was confident of investments in the sector from private sector, given it offers visibility of profits.
Pradhan met heads of the public-sector oil marketing companies to discuss the ambitious mega refinery being built in Maharashtra and the protests against it. Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray reportedly refused to meet him on the issue. Shiv Sena has said it will not let the project to come up, citing that locals were against the project.
“The concerns over the project are unfounded,” Pradhan said. “We are ready to have dialogues with anyone who has concerns. Maharashtra was chosen as the location after much deliberation and we are going ahead with the project,” he said.
Ratnagiri Refinery and Petrochemicals, a 60 million tonne refinery project, has attracted investments from Saudi Aramco and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, who will together own 50% stake in it.
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