India Pushing for Farzad-B Development Rights

India Pushing for Farzad-B Development RightsIndia Pushing for Farzad-B Development Rights

India has nudged Iran to quickly award rights to develop the coveted Farzad-B Gas Field in the Persian Gulf to ONGC Videsh by wrapping up negotiations that have been dragging on for months. Indian Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan met Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Saturday to press for award of rights to develop the field, which was discovered by OVL, at the earliest, PTI reported.

"Our relationship is much more than a usual (bilateral) relationship," Pradhan told PTI. "We stood by them (Iran) in their difficult times (US and western sanctions) and continued to buy oil from them." 

He said that he reminded the visiting minister of Iran's commitment to awarding the field development to OVL on nomination basis. 

"I hope they will complete the process within the agreed timeframe," he added. In October, the two nations had pushed back the timelines for concluding a deal on Farzad-B field to February from November agreed previously. 

"Let me just say that I am hopeful of concluding the deal within the agreed timeframe," Pradhan said when asked if Iran would award the field to OVL within this fiscal. 

Iran is reportedly unhappy with the $10 billion plan submitted by OVL, the overseas arm of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), for development of the 353 billion cubic meters reserves in Farzad-B field and an accompanying plant to liquefy the gas for transportation in ships. 

The field in the Farsi block was discovered by an Indian consortium led by OVL in 2008. It has an in-place gas reserve of 614 billion cubic meters. But India initially felt deterred from investing because of the fear of sanctions imposed by the US. With the lifting of sanctions this year, it is back discussing a master development plan involving investment of $ 5 billion in field development and an equal amount in a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant. 

Gas produced from the field can either be converted into LNG by freezing at sub-zero temperature and shipping in cryogenic ships to India or transported through a pipeline -- via overland passing through Pakistan or subsea. 

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