New Delhi: Indian refiners have paid about $ 1.4 billion to Iran for clearing one-fifth of the past oil dues, paving the way for resumption of crude supplies.
"The debt until last week stood at $ 4.8 billion, but we have now received about 1 billion euros of it," National Iranian Oil Co (NIOC) Managing Director Ahmad Qalebani was quoted as saying on Monday by the state-run Fars news agency. So in August, exports to India continued as in previous months.
Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd, Essar Oil and Indian Oil Corp (IOC) made one billion euro payment during the past one week.
Indian Oil Minister S Jaipal Reddy said Iran, which accounts for 12 per cent of the nation's oil supplies, has assured of continuing supplies.
"I think our talks with Iran are going on smoothly. We cannot discuss details (of payments) in public. However, we are assured of supplies by Government of Tehran," he said.
Qalebani said, "Oil sales to this country (India) are more or less continuing according to earlier plans."
Indian firms have been struggling for more than six months to pay Tehran because of international sanctions imposed over Iran's controversial nuclear programme. The sanctions include banking restrictions.
Earlier, Iran had threatened to stop supplies oil to India unless the past dues are cleared. The problem had arisen in December 2010 when Reserve Bank of India (RBI) unilaterally banned paying for Iranian imports through a long standing clearing house system run by regional central banks.
Since then, Indian refiners have been looking at new conduit and the latest payments have been made through Turkey.