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New Delhi moves closer to Qatar on energy

April 10, 2012 at 6:54 AM

NEW DELHI, April 10 (UPI) -- The Indian government said it was interested in expanding upstream and downstream links to the Qatari energy sector.

Qatari Energy Minister Mohammed bin Saleh al-Sada arrived in New Dalhi last weekend to meet with India's Petroleum Minister S. Jaipal Reddy.

Reddy, during the talks, expressed interest in securing more oil and liquefied natural gas from Qatar, the Economic Times of India reports.

India last year imported more than 5.6 million tons of LNG from Qatar and said it was interested in securing more for 2012. Qatar, the newspaper reported, contributes more than 50 percent of India's oil needs.

New Delhi relies on imports for as much as 80 percent of its oil needs and counts on Iran as its No. 2 supplier. The government has called for a gradual move away from Iranian crude, however, because of sanctions pressure on Tehran.

India has struggled to pay for Iranian crude oil since the Reserve Bank of India opted in December 2010 to stop trading in euros and U.S. dollars.

New Delhi, however, said it was considering rejoining an Iranian natural gas pipeline project that includes Pakistan as a partner.

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