India-Iran oil payment issue spills over

Jan. 14, 2011 at 10:59 AM
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PORT LOUIS, Mauritius, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- The energy situation for Mauritius will be "alarming" if Iran and India can't settle payment issues for crude oil, the country's commerce secretary said.

New Delhi is trying to find new ways to pay for the oil it imports from Iran after it was forced to abandon the U.S. dollar because of economic sanctions.

The tiny island nation in the Indian Ocean near Madagascar gets most of its fuel resources from refineries in India. The government said it has enough fuel to last eight weeks but could face dire shortages if India and Iran can't find a new payment mechanism.

"The situation will be alarming if there is disruption after eight weeks," Commerce Minister Shawkutally Soodhun told Bloomberg News. "The country will come to a stop."

A delegation of Indian oil and government officials left Friday for Iran in an effort to find a new way to pay for oil imports.

Without a new payment mechanism, India stands to lose 10 million barrels of crude oil from Iran next month. The Indian refinery that supplies Mauritius gets 60 percent of its oil from Iran.

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