(Adds source quotes, context)
By Nidhi Verma
NEW DELHI, July 8 India paid a second instalment
of $550 million in oil dues to Iran on Tuesday under an interim
deal that has allowed Tehran access to $4.2 billion in blocked
funds globally, two industry sources said.
Asian buyers such as Japan and South Korea have already
cleared some of the money they owe for imports of Iranian oil
under a payment schedule approved by world powers in an interim
nuclear deal with Iran last November.
Iran wanted the last three payments under the joint plan of
action (JPA) totalling $1.65 billion from India, but New Delhi
could not clear the May and the June instalments on time as the
banking mechanism to remit the funds was not in place.
The current mechanism involving the central bank of the
United Arab Emirates allows Tehran access to funds in Dirahms as
a reward for cooperating in talks with world powers over its
"All refiners have made the payment," said one of the
sources, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of
India last month made the first payment to Iran under the
The settlement of the final instalment of $550 million to
Iran due on July 20 depends on Iran fulfilling all of its
commitments under the joint action plan.
Iran and six major powers resumed talks last week and
negotiators continued meetings in Vienna on Tuesday, but there
was no immediate sign of substantive progress.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said his country
would need to significantly increase its number of centrifuges,
underlining a gap in positions between Tehran and world powers
as they seek to clinch a nuclear accord.
The respective payments by the five refiners were the same
as in the previous instalment, said a second source.
Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd, Essar
Oil, Indian Oil Corp., Hindustan Petroleum
Corp and HPCL-Mittal Energy Ltd. together owed about
$4.6 billion to National Iranian Oil Co as of May 31.
India, which imports a total of 4 million barrels per day of
oil, has been steadily reducing its dependence on Iran, whose
share in its overall oil imports has fallen by two-thirds over
the last five years to 5.7 percent in 2013/14.
(Reporting by Nidhi Verma; Editing by Douglas Busvine and David