Wel­come Hy­dro­car­bon Ini­tia­tive in Iran

The Economic Times - - The Edit Page -

It is wholly wel­come that In­dia has of­fered to in­vest up to $20 bil­lion in new petro­chem­i­cals com­plexes, fer­tiliser plants and liq­ue­fied nat­u­ral gas (LNG) fa­cil­i­ties in hy­dro­car­bons-rich Iran. It would en­able us to source much-needed fuel and feed­stock sup­plies at fine rates, while Iran would be able to lever­age its gas as­sets to shore up value ad­di­tion in petro­chem­i­cals, apart from mon­etis­ing its hy­dro­car­bon re­serves. Oil min­is­ter Dhar­men­dra Prad­han has re­port­edly sought ad­e­quate land in the Chaba­har Spe­cial Eco­nomic Zone, and is also seek­ing long-term nat­u­ral gas sup­plies on mu­tu­ally at­trac­tive terms. It makes per­fect sense for In­dian com­pa­nies to join hands with Ira­nian joint ven­ture part­ners to ex­plore and pro­duce oil and gas, build petro­chem­i­cal plants, and also in­vest in gas-pro­cess­ing fa­cil­i­ties and port in­fra­struc­ture, es­pe­cially in the new in­dus­trial hub of Chaba­har. Nat­u­ral gas is the clean­est fos­sil fuel by far and Iran, which has the world’s sec­ond-largest gas re­serves, is ge­o­graph­i­cally close to western In­dian ports. It is also a fact that nat­u­ral gas ac­counts for a lowly share — barely 9% — in our com­mer­cial energy mix. It needs to rise sig­nif­i­cantly. The way ahead is to shore up both LNG sup­plies and pos­si­bly piped gas from the Per­sian Gulf. In par­al­lel, there’s the press­ing need to firm up joint-ven­ture fer­tiliser plants in Iran us­ing cheap feed­stock. It would meet our do­mes­tic deficit for ni­troge­nous fer­tiliser and also pro­vide for ex­ports. It is also wel­come that New Delhi and Tehran have re­port­edly de­cided to fi­nalise by Oc­to­ber how best to de­velop the Farzad-B gas­field in Iran, which was dis­cov­ered by ONGC Videsh (OVL), the over­seas arm of state-owned oil pro­ducer ONGC. It may even make sense to un­lock share­holder value with an IPO and list OVL.

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