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Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan says too early to predict sanctions impact on Iran imports

Reuters  |  ABU DHABI 

By Rania El Gamal

(Reuters) - Minister on Saturday expressed concern about the rise prices but said it was too early to predict the impact of U.S. sanctions on his country's imports of Iranian after withdrew from the nuclear deal.

"This kind of geopolitical (tension) affects both consuming and producing countries. We have to live with the reality of the present geopolitics," Pradhan told during a visit to the

U.S. on Tuesday reneged on an international nuclear accord with and announced renewed sanctions against the OPEC member. The original agreement had lifted sanctions for limiting its nuclear program.

Crude prices remained just below multi-year highs, with Brent on track for a weekly 2.8 percent gain and U.S. crude a 1.2 percent weekly rise. Brent crude settled down 35 cents at $77.12 a barrel on Friday.

Pradhan said he was "a little bit concerned" about the impact of the current rise in on consuming countries but that he did not think would be an issue.

"Let's see how things are moving. It's too early to predict in one way. We are watching very carefully," he said.

is the third-largest in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. Iran ramped up supplies after lifting the sanctions in 2016, producing 3.81 million bpd in March 2018.

Analysts now expect Iran's supplies to fall by between 200,000 bpd and 1 million bpd, depending on how many other countries fall in line with

During the last round of sanctions, enjoyed waivers allowing limited Iranian paid for in rupees instead of U.S. dollars.

When sanctions were loosened against Tehran, increased imports from Iran to almost 900,000 bpd in late 2016, but intake has fallen back to around 500,000 bpd this year.

Pradhan also said that there was a consensus between Saudi Arabia's Saudi Aramco, National Oil Company (ADNOC) and Indian companies to firm a joint venture for India's

The planned $44 billion facility in will be one of the largest refining and petrochemical complexes in the world at 1.2 million barrels per day.

Aramco in April signed a deal with India for a 50 percent stake in the project, saying it may introduce at a later stage a strategic partner to share its 50 percent stake.

ADNOC wants to expand its downstream portfolio in markets where demand for oil is still growing, such as and India, securing a new outlet for its crude.

Pradhan was speaking at on the sidelines of an event marking the first cargo of from ADNOC, to the (ISPRL) after it has been loaded and was en-route to India.

The cargo is the first under an agreement between ADNOC and India's government-owned company ISPRL, to locate 5.86 million barrels of ADNOC at the facility in the Indian city of Mangalore, ADNOC said in a statement.

The loading ceremony, of approximately 2 million barrels of ADNOC crude oil, was witnessed by Pradhan and UAE and ADNOC's Sultan al-Jaber, in

"The strategic reserve will provide a boost to India's and help us deal with supply side disruptions. While part of the stored oil will be used for commercial purposes by ADNOC, the major part will be purely for strategic purposes," Pardhan said in a statement after the ceremony.

(Reporting by Rania El Gamal; Writing by Noah Browning; Editing by and Angus MacSwan)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, May 12 2018. 20:19 IST