US, India in ‘very detailed’ talks about halting Iran oil imports

India is a big buyer of oil from Iran, a target of US sanctions. (AFP)
Updated 06 September 2018
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US, India in ‘very detailed’ talks about halting Iran oil imports

NEW DELHI: The US and India are engaged in “very detailed conversations” over Washington’s request to completely stop India’s oil imports from Iran, a senior US State Department official said on Thursday.
US President Donald Trump this year ordered the reimposition of economic curbs on Iran after withdrawing his country from a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers. The US has since been trying to persuade countries to economically isolate Iran.
“We’re asking all of our partners, not just India, to reduce to zero oil imports from Iran and so I’m confident that will be part of our conversation with India,” the official told reporters, as the foreign and defense heads of the two countries met in the Indian capital.
“There are very detailed conversations taking place between the US and India on just the technical issues related to going to zero and those conversations will continue.”
Despite Trump’s efforts, government officials in India, the world’s third biggest oil importer and Iran’s top oil client after China, have been talking about wanting to continue trade ties, especially for oil, with Iran.
To lure Indian buyers, the Islamic nation has been offering extended credit terms and almost free shipping.
India would not stop Iranian imports but would finalize its strategy on crude buys after this week’s high-level meeting of US state and defense secretaries, Mike Pompeo and Jim Mattis, and India’s foreign and defense ministers, Sushma Swaraj and Nirmala Sitharaman, an Indian official told Reuters last month.
In another sign of New Delhi’s desire to keep buying Iranian oil, Reuters reported this week that India had allowed its state refiners to use Tehran’s tanker and insurance cover after western and Indian shippers started winding down their Iran operations ahead of a Nov. 4 deadline.
Nevertheless, India’s August oil imports from Iran plunged by a third as the state refiners waited for government permission to buy oil using Iranian tankers and cover.


Siemens CEO pushes plans to boost Iraqi power infrastructure

Updated 26 min 3 sec ago
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Siemens CEO pushes plans to boost Iraqi power infrastructure

FRANKFURT: Siemens said its boss Joe Kaeser met Iraq’s prime minister on Sunday to discuss a proposal by the German company to expand the Middle East nation’s power production.
The German engineering group said it was proposing a deal to add 11 gigawatt (GW) of capacity over four years, saying this would boost the country’s capacity by nearly 50 percent.
It did not give a value, but such a contract would be worth several billion euros based on previous comparable deals.
Iraq has a wide gap between electricity consumption and supply. Peak demand in the summer, when people turn on air conditioners due to high temperatures, is about 21 GW, far exceeding the 13 GW the grid is currently provides, experts say.
Kaeser said in a statement after meeting Prime Minister Al-Abadi that they had “discussed the comprehensive Siemens roadmap to build a better future for the Iraqi people.”
“In Egypt, we have done the same and successfully built up the power infrastructure in record time with the highest efficiency,” he said.
In 2015, Siemens signed an 8 billion euro ($9.4 billion) deal with Egypt to supply gas and wind power plants to add 16.4 gigawatts of capacity to the country’s power grid, marking the group’s single biggest order.
The proposal for Iraq, first pitched in February, would include cutting Iraq’s energy losses, introducing smart grids, expanding transmission grids, upgrading existing plants and adding new capacity.
The group would also help the government secure funding from international commercial banks and export credit agencies with German government support, creating thousands of jobs in Iraq.
Siemens would donate a $60 million grant for software for Iraqi universities, it said.