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Iraq seeks investment from Indian companies in its oil and gas sector

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: September 25, 2019  | 21:41 IST

New Delhi, Sep 25 (PTI) Iraq on Wednesday invited Indian companies to invest in the country's lucrative oil and gas sector, saying there are "huge opportunities" for increasing cooperation in the area. Iraq is one of India's top suppliers of oil and liquefied natural (LNG) gas. Ambassador of Iraq Falah Abdulhasan said Iraq was looking for investment by Indian companies in the oil and gas sector and the issue is likely to be discussed during Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan's upcoming visit to the country. The envoy said both India and Iraq are working on a liberal visa regime besides aiming to seal a double taxation avoidance agreement. "We are looking for investment by Indian companies in oil and gas sector in India. There are huge opportunities in the sector," the envoy told a select group of journalists. A sizeable number of Malaysian, Chinese and American oil exploration companies are operating in Iraq. In 2018-19, Iraq, for the second year in a row, became India's top crude oil supplier, meeting more than a fifth of the country's oil needs. An official said Iraq supplies crude oil worth USD 25 billion annually to India. India's public sector oil companies, including IOCL, HPCL and BPCL, are the major importers of oil from Iraq. Economic and trade relations between India and Iraq slowed down after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. However, the total bilateral trade has grown steadily since 2010, mainly due to increasing crude oil imports. In addition to import of crude oil, India also imports commodities like raw wool and sulphur from Iraq. Indian exports to Iraq consist of cereals, iron and steel, meat and meat products, pharmaceutical products, agro chemicals and tea. The Iraqi envoy said his country is also exploring greater cooperation with India in several other sectors including health-care, medicine and aviation. He said Iraqi government is also looking at increasing flights between the two countries. At present, Iraqi Airways operate flights between the two countries. PTI MPB ZMN

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