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Visa woes ground India's Iraq crude bid
July 29, 2003 15:01 IST
Indian efforts to secure a share in Iraqi crude oil have been hit with Indian Oil Corporation failing to get entry visas in time for sending its officials to Baghdad to seal an import deal.
"IOC would not keep its date with Iraq's State Oil Marketing Organisation as its negotiating team of officials could not procure entry visa," official sources said.
Iraqi Embassy in New Delhi has stopped issuing visas since the US-led war against Saddam Hussein regime ended in April.
"The IOC team was scheduled to meet SOMO on July 21-22 but a few days before the departure we were informed about the requirement of entry visa and there was no clarity as to who will issue these visas," they said.
"In view of this uncertainty, the visit of our delegation has been deferred in consultation with our ambassador in Baghdad. SOMO have been requested to defer the meeting," they said adding the delegation would go only when the visa issue has been sorted out.
IOC had planned to enter Iraq by road from Jordan to attend a meeting with SOMO officials. SOMO has indicated that it is in negotiations for term contracts with refiners for August-December lifting.
New Delhi is seeking three million tonnes of Basrah Light.
Before the war in Iraq, India bought at least one very large crude carrier (about two million barrels) of Basrah Light, a favourite of Indian refineries.