India is planning to invest as much as $20bn in oil, petrochemicals and fertiliser projects in Iran in order to import more crude to meet its demand.

Chabahar Bay

Indian Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan made the investment offer to Iranian counterpart Bijan Namdar Zanganeh during a two-day visit in Tehran.

Pradhan said that the country is seeking to invest in oil and natural gas, build petrochemical plants and gas-processing facilities and expand ports, by developing new industrial hub of Chabahar, in Southeastern Iran.

The Indian Oil Ministry said in a statement: "Pradhan conveyed to the Iranian side that Indian companies could invest up to $20 billion and were interested in setting up petrochemical and fertilizer plants, including in the Chabahar SEZ, either through joint venture between Indian and Iranian public sector companies or with private sector partners."

Pradhan requested Iran to allocate appropriate and adequate land in the Chabahar SEZ as well as supply rich gas at a competitive price to India.

In particular, India plans to increase its oil imports from Iran from the current volume of 350,000 barrels per day (bpd).

Since international sanctions were lifted in January, Iran has been seeking potential foreign investment in a bid to revive its oil, gas and petrochemical industries.

Zangeneh was quoted by Press TV? as saying: "We hope that India’s imports of oil from Iran will increase now that the sanctions have been removed."

Iran has also been requested for a long-term basis for planned joint venture projects.

Additionally, the Indian firms are planning to build a gas cracker unit and a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) extraction unit in Chabahar.

The two countries also discussed ways of transporting gas through the proposed Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline to India.

India also discussed the award of rights to Indian firms for the development of Farzad-B gas block, which is estimated to have 21.68 trillion cubic feet of reserves in-place, reported The Hindu?.

Image: The Chabahar Bay in Southeastern Iran. Photo: courtesy of Amirhossein Nikroo/Wikipedia.