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Naik to discuss scope in oil
- India, Iran explore ways to expand trade relations

New Delhi, Jan. 27: India is likely to take up more oil exploration blocks in Iran on the same terms as the Farsi block that an ONGC-led consortium has already acquired in that country. A deal to import liquefied natural gas from Iran is also on the cards.

Petroleum minister Ram Naik will be visiting Iran within the next three months to discuss these opportunities with the Iranian leadership.

These developments are an outcome of an MoU signed between the two countries here today to promote co-operation in the hydrocarbon sector. The agreement was signed by Naik and the Iranian foreign minister Kamal Kharrazi.

Naik said that India would also extend support to Iran in the services sector.

This would cover the field of CNG as a transport fuel which has already been introduced in Delhi. Iran could follow this example of adopting the green fuel as it has plenty of gas reserves, he added.

Iran is also keen to export natural gas at a very economical price to India through a land pipeline running across Pakistan.

However, India has reiterated its stand that the risk attached to such a venture through hostile territory is too high. India has stated that it could consider imports through an offshore pipeline laid in international waters well outside Pakistanís exclusive economic zone. A techno-economic study of the project has already been commissioned.

The Indian stand has been further strengthened with jehadis blasting a gas pipeline running through Baluchistan and Pakistanís Punjab province. This has disrupted gas supply to these regions.

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