NEW DELHI, Sept. 3 (UPI) -- India's oil minister said the government could save $8.5 billion in foreign exchange spending if it started getting more crude oil from Iran.
Oil Minister M. Veerappa Moily sent a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh outlining budget issues related to oil imports.
Moily said about 14 million barrels of oil were imported from Iran so far this year. "An additional import of [80 million barrels] during 2013-14 would result in reduction in foreign exchange outflow by $8.47 billion," the letter, published Sunday by the Press Trust of India, said.
Indian imports of Iranian crude oil were limited by sanctions restricting payment and insurance options. New Delhi in June secured a waiver from U.S. sanctions for stepping away from Iranian crude oil.
Moily said India could import as much as 95 million barrels of oil from Iran by the end of next year.
The government said it would call on state-owned energy companies to keep oil imports for this year static in an effort to save $1.7 billion in foreign exchange. The plans described by the oil minister are part of an overall effort to prop up the rupee, which Press Trust of India reports slipped 23 percent against the U.S. dollar this fiscal year.