New Delhi (Sputnik): In a significant development, amid rising pressure from the US to completely ban crude imports from Iran, India's Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan held wide-ranging telephone discussions with the US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry on Monday evening.
The minister raised the issue of "crude price volatility", emphasising its impact on Indian consumers during the discussion. Currently, crude prices have been hovering near $50-55 a barrel after Saudi Arabia said other members of the OPEC coalition vowed to prevent a slump in prices.
"Emergence of the US as a source for oil and gas for India also figured during the call," the Petroleum Ministry said, adding that the two countries agreed to "work closely to improve the overall engagement between the countries in the energy sector".
Since November, India was importing 1.25 million metric tonnes of crude oil from the Persian nation till 2 May this year.
"Indian oil refiners have been taking supplies from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to compensate for loss of Iranian oil. However, a limited amount of Iranian crude which was loaded ahead of 2 May also arrived this month," a petroleum ministry official said on the condition of anonymity.
The Indian government had already started discussions to resume the importing of Iranian crude.
These developments have been taking place in the backdrop of last month's statement by US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross that the US government will not force its private firms to supply crude at a concessional rate.
READ MORE:India Likely to Resume Iranian Oil Imports Amid US Sanctions — Source
Meanwhile, on 10 June, the countries discussed ways to work together to enhance energy security and further develop a gas-based economy in India. Both ministers agreed to hold the second meeting of the India-US Strategic Energy Partnership at an earlier date, the Petroleum Ministry added.
In November 2018, the Donald Trump administration granted sanctions exemptions "to ensure a well-supplied oil market" for 180 days, which ended on 2 May.