Indian media say Iran has cut by one-third the time it gives to Indian refiners to pay for oil they buy from it and has also raised ship freight rates.
The Hindu in a report quoted informed sources in New Delhi as saying that Iran had designed both measures in retaliation against India’s decision to reduce Iranian oil imports.
Iran, India’s third biggest oil supplier, used to give a 90-day credit period to refiners like Indian Oil Corp (IOC) and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL) to pay for the oil they would buy from it, added the report.
Now, Tehran has reduced this to 60 days, essentially means that IOC and MRPL would have to pay for the oil they buy from Iran in 60 days instead of previous liberal term of 90 days, sources privy to the development said.
The Hindu quoted unidentified sources as saying that the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) had also decided to cut the discount it offers to Indian buyers on freight from 80 percent to about 60 percent. Iran is yet to react to what has been described by the Indian media as retaliatory measures.
Reports emerged in the media last week that several leading Indian refiners were planning to cut oil imports from Iran by a fifth.
The Times of India quoted sources as saying that the move came as New Delhi took “a more assertive stance over an impasse on a giant gas field (Farzad B) that it wants awarded to an Indian consortium”.
However, Iran’s Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zanganeh said Tehran was not worried about India’s purported plan to cut oil imports.
He emphasized that the Islamic Republic was open to negotiations with the Indian side to boost cooperation but stressed that Tehran would not accept what he described as “the language of threat”.
“There should be sensible conditions in the negotiations. We cannot sign a contract under threats. The language of threat is not a good one,” Zanganeh said.
“India is one of our good customers and we are willing to boost cooperation. If there is a cut in our exports to India, we will have no troubles as there are many other customers,” he emphasized.