November 20, 2014 / 7:57 AM / 3 years ago

Refiners pay $400 million to Iran under interim deal - sources

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Indian refiners on Thursday paid $400 million to Iran ahead of a Nov. 24 deadline of the interim deal with six world powers that allows Tehran to recover part of its overseas frozen oil revenues, two industry sources privy to the development said.

Essar Oil paid about $201 million, Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd about $154 million, Indian Oil Corp about $42 million and Hindustan Petroleum about $3 million, said the sources, who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue.

With this, India has paid $1.3 billion to Iran in three installments under the interim deal, which allowed Tehran access to $2.8 billion of its funds held in foreign banks in addition to $4.2 billion paid between January and July.

The Indian refiners - Essar, MRPL, Indian Oil and Hindustan Petroleum - could not be immediately reached for a comment.

Western powers and Iran are in talks this week to hammer out a final deal to ease sanctions against Tehran in exchange for curbs to its nuclear programme.

Iran has said it would resist Western pressure to make what it considered to be excessive concessions in nuclear talks, highlighting obstacles that could prevent a historic deal being reached by Nov. 24.

U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken said it appears difficult to reach a comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran by a Nov. 24 deadline but it is not impossible.

The latest payments would be made using an existing mechanism of a series of back-to-back transactions in different currencies that are initially channeled through the Reserve Bank of India. Iran will eventually get paid in dirhams from the central bank of the United Arab Emirates.

India, Iran’s top oil client after China, has imported 40.3 percent more oil from Tehran in the first 10 months of this year than in the same period last year, data obtained from trade sources show.

Editing by Himani Sarkar

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