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Iranian Crude Oil Can Reach Indian Refiners Through Russia
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Cabinet Approves Uniform Licensing Policy For Oil, Gas Exploration
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Decision On Mega Refinery Location Unlikely Before 2020
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Upstream Major ONGC’s Asset Acquisition Plans Hit A Wall
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Government Tweaks Policy For Pre-1999 Oil & Gas Contracts
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Regulation
Government Considers U K, French Models For Unbundling GAIL
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ONGC Advised To Assign Top G&G Talents To 4 CoDs
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PNGRB Exceeds Brief In Improving Terms For 9th CGD Round?
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Petro Products Consumption Pattern Indicates Robust GDP Growth
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Alternative Energy / Fuel
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Lightsource BP Finishes 60-MWp Solar Project In India
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New Projects
Honeywell Technology For IOC
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HPCL To Double Capacity Of Visakh Refinery
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HPCL To Set Up Products Pipeline
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Market Watch
Govt Achieves Target Of 50 Mn Free LPG Connections Ahead Of Schedule
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Companies
AG&P
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IndianOil To Invest 1.75 Trillion For Expansion
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MDC Norway And Buoyancy Consultants Sign LNG Deal
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Reliance Industries Signs Deal To Sell CB-10 Block Stake To Sun Petro
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Castrol India Limited Announces Q2 CY18 Results
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Press Release [FREE Access]
Petro Intelligence » Kowtowing to Trump

by R. Sasankan

President Donald Trump – a showman and bully on the world stage – has tried to project himself as the new liege as he tries to re-define the doctrine of vassalage in a new and emergent world.

Donald TrumpCountries that have tried to adopt nuanced positions on issues that President Trump has flagged as immediate concerns of his Administration have quickly wilted in the face of his wrath and threat of trade sanctions. Trump – like all great authoritarian figures – tends to see everything in black and white. He has little patience with the equivocations of fence-sitters: back him a 100 per cent and he will view you as an ally. Otherwise, he will threaten to hurl thunderbolts and force you into submission.

India has been caught in a cleft stick after President Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal that was signed by his predecessor in 2015 and decided to target Iran with the full range of economic sanctions. Countries that continue to maintain trade relations with oil-producing Iran now run the risk of facing crippling trade sanctions.

When President Trump made that dramatic announcement in May, western allies were caught off guard and did not find any reason to repudiate the Iran nuclear agreement, inviting his wrath. At first, India tried to assert its independence in the conduct of its foreign policy. External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj came out with a bold statement.”India will not respect unilateral U.S sanctions against Iran and will recognize only the UN sanctions,” she said.

But soon the Modi regime started to waver on its commitment to such a baldly-stated position. A few days after Swaraj enunciated the country’s highly- principled stand, Nikki Haley, US ambassador to UN, visited New Delhi and held talks with Indian authorities. The very next day, India’s Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas was reported to have instructed state-owned oil refiners to prepare for a drastic reduction, or zero imports, of crude oil from Iran. Clearly, the Modi regime’s initial opposition to President Trump’s imperious pronouncement has crumbled.

Xi JinpingIndia, of course, has tried to keep up the pretence of ambivalence by refusing to come out with an official statement confirming the petroleum ministry’s directive to the public sector oil refiners. But Iran was quick to condemn the change in India’s position – opting to convey its displeasure through an article in the Tehran Times which blasted the Indian government for its craven submission to Trump’s will and demanded to know if Donald Trump was in charge of India’s foreign policy. India, the newspaper alleged, had surrendered even as Turkey and China refused to cut oil imports from that country. India is Iran’s third largest importer of crude. China, Iran’s biggest purchaser, accounts for about one-quarter of Iran's oil sales - 600,000 barrels a day out of the 2.2 million barrels a day that Iran exports.

India’s response to sanctions was not unexpected. Even if another ruling combination was in power in New Delhi, the response would not have been much different. India did not defy the sanctions the last time round when the UPA was in power although it was one of the very few countries allowed to trade with Iran within the limits of sanctions. Trump is not expected to make such an exception for India this time round. Neither Prime Minister Narendra Modi nor petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan has reacted to the threat of US sanctions. Their studied silence speaks volumes about the compulsions of diplomacy in a world dominated by Donald Trump. But long before Trump arrived on the scene, India had started the process of consolidating its relations with the US.

Hassan RouhaniDuring the days of Indira Gandhi, India, the leader of the nonaligned group of nations, was closely allied with the Soviet Union. That policy continued even under Rajiv Gandhi. The shift towards the US began with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. However, India’s unrecognized nuclear status stood in the way of improved bilateral relations. It was the nuclear deal signed under George Bush’s presidency that paved the way for a new chapter in India’s relations with the US. This was a great diplomatic coup for India. No one knows what the quid pro quo was. The decision to axe the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline is believed to have been taken at the instance of the Bush administration. US-Iran relations continued to worsen even as India began strengthening its equations with the US.

There is a very broad spectrum of common interest today between the US and India compared with a few years ago. Experts acknowledge that ever since the nuclear deal, attempts have been made to address quite a few issues of strategic interest. Apart from opening the doors for sharing a broad range of dual purpose technologies, the US today is supportive of India when it comes to entering the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). It also supports India's strategic interests with her neighbours in the West and the North including issues relating to arms supplies.

India certainly would like to improve its relations with Iran but the man who occupies the White House stands in the way. India could find itself in a very uncomfortable position were it to go it alone in backing Russia, China, Iran and Syria.

Trump is unpredictable. China has finally pulled the trigger by announcing retaliatory trade tariffs against the US, escalating a battle that the world is closely watching. But Europe has been less sure about adopting a confrontationist stand against the US – even after President Trump’s aggressive posturing at the recent G7 summit in Canada.

“It is true that the Europe is not supporting the US stand on the nuclear accord with Iran. Still, it will be difficult for them not to comply with the US stand on boycotting purchase of crude oil from Iran,” said Bhamy Shenoy, an acknowledged oil expert. In this uncertain situation, it is best for India to lie low.

Iran normally does not appreciate the compulsions of others. It is allergic to India’s improved relations with Israel. Iran has a running duel with Saudi Arabia which has now proposed massive investments in India’s petroleum sector. So has United Arab Emirates. Kuwait too is looking to invest in an Indian refinery.

Iran obviously does not fit into India’s new scheme of things. Prime Minister Narendra Modi went to Iran in June 2016 in connection with the development of the Chabahar port. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani came to India in February this year. Relations between the two countries were beginning to look up until President Trump unilaterally threatened sanctions against Iran. Trump isn’t overly bothered by the fact that Europe – until recently a strong ally of the US – does not back him fully.

China has been reluctantly forced to take a strong retaliatory stand. The whole world seems to be afraid of Donald Trump and does not know how to deal with him. Not unsurprisingly, Trump’s popularity is rising among the US voters who see a” method in his madness”. The corporates in the US are increasing their profits on account of Trump’s policies. On present reckoning, Trump will be in power for another term – a prospect that could prolong the misery for Iran and the rest of the world.



To download the latest issue 'Volume 25 Issue 9 - August 10, 2018', click here
Petro Intelligence [FREE Access]
Why A Long-Term LNG Supply Deal With US Makes Sense
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The Changing Dynamics Wrought By US LNG
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Kowtowing to Trump
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Kuwait Prefers A Distance From Saudi
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Foreign Investment
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Oilex Is Seeking To Take Over GSPC’s Stake In Cambay Block
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Overseas Investment
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Gas Scene
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Domestic Gas Prices & International Gas Prices
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Roadmap to setting up a functional Gas Marketing Hub in India
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Sectoral Consumption of Natural Gas In June 2018
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Domestic Natural Gas Scene in June 2018
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An Update of Coal Bed Methane Gas Development in India
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Domestic Gas Scene In totality In Last 3 Years
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Month-Wise, Sector-Wise Consumption of Domestic Gas, R-LNG 2017-18
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LNG imports have consistently increased over the years
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15% Share of Gas in Primary Energy Mix – What it Translates to
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Salient Features of LPG Profile In Fiscal 2017-18
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Approved LNG Export Facilities
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Update: CGD Factsheet as of April 2018
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International Gas/LNG Prices and Domestic Gas Price
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CGD Sector’s Projected Growth In Coming Years
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Update: Source-Wise LNG Imports and List of Importers in February 2018
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Sector-wise Gas Consumption of Domestic Gas and RLNG in January 2018
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A National Gas Grid Still Far Away, But Making Progress
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Data Section
Monthly Upstream Data
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Data Archives
Special Database
Petroleum Products Import Goes Up In June 2018
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Crude Oil Imports Dip In June 2018, OPEC Share further Declines
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Imported Crude & Domestic Crude Oil Processing
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High Sulphur (HS) & Low Sulphur (LS) crude oil processing
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Power Deficit Situation Region-Wise In June 2018
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ONGC’s Oil and Gas Discoveries In Fiscal 2017-18
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For Better Appreciation of Pricing Of Imported Crude
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Customs, Excise Duties, GST Rates On Petroleum Products
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Update: Profit After Tax (PAT) of oil companies
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Status of blocks under NELP (as on 1st April, 2018)
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Retail Selling Price (RSP) & % of taxes in RSP of petrol and diesel in developed countries vis-a-vis India
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Retail Selling Price (RSP) of major products in India & neighbouring countries
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Break up of Central excise duty on petrol & diesel (effective on 2nd February, 2018)
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Share of taxes in Retail Selling Price (RSP) of Petrol & Diesel in Delhi
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Fuel & Loss in Indian refineries in fiscal year 2017-18
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New Petrochemical Complexes and Estimated Feedstock requirement
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Update of Distillate yield of PSU refineries
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Update Of Hydrocarbon Reserves In India
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India’s Import Of Petroleum Products Down in May, Up In April-May 2018
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Gross Refining Margins (GRMs) of Indian refineries during FY 2017-18
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Tenders [FREE Access]
ONGC
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ONGC
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