Iran and India are preparing to strike new energy deals and boost bilateral ties by settling India’s $6b debt to Tehran, informed Press TVMining Weekly wrote that Indian officials here conceded that the $6b debt built up largely on account of crude oil purchases from Iran in days of economic sanctions against the Persian Gulf nation.

In April, Indian Oil Minister, Dharmendra Pradhan, will visit Iran for talks including the purchase of oil, development of a giant gas field – Farzad-B, and investment in petrochemical projects.

The Farzad-B field in the offshore Farsi block is estimated to hold 12.8tcf of in-place gas reserves. Last month, Pradhan said he was “hopeful” a deal on Farzad-B could be concluded during the official visit.

Further, the Indians are pushing to win back development rights to the field which they discovered in 2008. Last year, Iran had to put Farzad-B in the list of projects up for tender after the Indians dragged their feet on its development under US pressure.

According to The Economic Times, India is set to import at least 400,000b/d of Iranian oil in the year, with refiners looking to ramp up purchases after the sanctions targeting Tehran ended in January, industry sources familiar with the matter said. However, Reuters informed that India’s Iran oil imports in March already topped 500,000b/d, highest in at least five years, as private refiner Reliance Industries resumed purchases after a multi-year lay-off.