India has conveyed to Iran that its interest in oil and exploration projects in the Gulf nation is still alive.

Commercial interaction with the Iranian authorities is independent of the decisions of the West on Iran’s disputed nuclear programme and the end-June deadline, an official involved with negotiations said.

Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, who had recently met his Iranian counterpart Bijan Namdar Zangenah at the 6th Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) International Seminar, told BusinessLine that “commercial discussions are an ongoing process and we have given clear indications to Iran…but, we are also closing watching the international situation.”

Discussions between ONGC Videsh Ltd, the wholly-owned subsidiary of ONGC, and the Iranian authorities on Indian company’s interest in discovered Farsi offshore block, now named Binaloud, are currently on.

Discovered by OVL and its Indian partners in 2008, the Farzad-B gas find is estimated to hold in-place reserves of up to 21.68 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), of which 12.8 Tcf of gas and 212 million barrels of condensate may be recoverable.

In fact, the two Oil Ministers had discussed Indian involvement in exploration and production projects in Iran and the possibility of building a gas pipeline from Iran to India through various routes.

The Western sanctions had proved a deterrent and countries like India had gone slow on their commercial ties with Iran, including drastically reducing crude supplies from there.

In fact, earlier this year, domestic refiners like Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals were ‘informally asked’ by the Indian government to cut purchases from Iran, as it had already touched the sanction limit.