By Nidhi Verma
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Essar Oil has settled about 2 billion euros ($2.5 billion) in dues to Iran to cover previous oil purchases and still owes the country about $616 million, Chief Executive B. Anand said on Thursday.
The outstanding payments stem from delays in paying for Iranian oil when the country was under international sanctions over its nuclear programme. The sanctions ended in 2016.
Essar Oil aims to buy 120,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil from Iran in 2018/19, the same as the previous year, Anand said, adding his company was receiving the same concessions as state-owned Indian refiners for Iranian oil purchases.
Iran has deepened discounts on freight to state refiners that have agreed to almost double annual imports from Iran in 2018/19.
The private refiner imports about 60,000 bpd of oil from Venezuela under a term deal and about 50,000 bpd of Mexican oil from spot markets "depending on economics", Anand told Reuters in an interview during the International Energy Forum.
Anand said his firm had no immediate plans to sign more pre-financing deals.
To boost its local sales Essar plans to add 1,500 fuel stations within 18-24 months, he said. Essar currently operates 4,500 fuel stations in India.
($1 = 0.8123 euros)
(Editing by Christian Schmollinger and David Evans)
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