(EnergyAsia, October 18 2016, Tuesday) — India expects Saudi Arabia and the UAE to join Iran in storing crude oil at its newly launched strategic stockpile terminal in Mangalore in Karnataka state.

Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan expressed his hope for an imminent deal with the two Arab oil producers at a media conference last week after news that Iran had shipped two million barrels of crude for storage at the 1.5-million-tonne (11-million barrel) terminal.

The cargo was received by Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals (MRPL) and delivered to the storage cavern operated by the Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves (ISPRL).

The deal has put Iran ahead of its Arab rivals which have been unable to agree on an oil storage arrangement with India despite years of negotiations.

Pradhan will have another shot at signing up Saudi Arabia with Petroleum Minister Kahlid A. Al-Falih’s visit to New Delhi in October. The two ministers are also expected to discuss Saudi interest in investing in oil refinery and petrochemical projects in India.

India has developed a total of 5.33 million tonnes of storage capacity to date: Mangalore (1.5 million tonnes), Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh state (1.33 million tonnes), and Padur in Kerala (2.5 million tonnes).