India, a net importer of crude oil, proposes to diversify further its sources of crude imports to reduce its dependence on any one region, according to Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

Pradhan told the upper house of parliament that 61% of India's imported crude oil comes from the Middle East and New Delhi is now trying to increase oil imports from South America and Africa.

In particular, the Indian government is reportedly tapping nations such as Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela for supplies.

Pradhan also said the government is attempting to raise domestic oil and gas production in a bid to reduce the nation's dependence on imports.

Production at the state-owned Oil and Natural Gas (ONGC) and Oil India (OIL) is being monitored on monthly basis.

Iranian Imports

India, Iran's top oil client after China, clears 45% of its Iranian oil import bill in rupees.

Pradhan said New Delhi "continues to explore possibilities for [a barter] arrangement" as such an arrangement can help India save foreign exchange.

India's crude imports from Iran jumped some 33% in the first half of 2013, according to reports
from Reuters.

Indian refiners shipped in 281,000 barrels per day from Iran in the six months to June, up from 211,400 a year ago, data on tanker arrivals from trade sources showed.

Total crude imports for the January-June period slipped 1%. India imported 189.24 million tonnes of crude oil in the 2013-14 financial year.

It bought 115.86 million tonnes of oil from the Middle East, 31.73 million tonnes from Latin America and 30.39 million tonnes from Africa.