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Oil, Gas, Petrochemical and Energy Field Specialized Channel

India Continues Importing Usual Volume of Oil from Iran

India has been lobbying hard to seek US sanctions waivers for the import of Iranian oil through Iran's Chabahar project.

 

Indian oil refiners have placed a contract for 1.25 million metric tons of Iranian crude to be delivered in the month of November. As Iran gives Indian refiners a two month credit period, payments for the shipment will be made after November, in which the second set of US sanctions against trade with Tehran kicks in. Hence, to circumvent the sanctions, New Delhi is preparing to replace dollar payments with Indian rupees, according to top industry sources.

India's largest refiner, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), which had planned to import 9 million metric tons of Iranian oil in the 2018-19 fiscal year (April 2018 to March 2019) or 0.75 million metric tons a month, is importing the "usual" monthly volumes of oil from Iran, sources revealed.

The decision by Indian refiners to continue imports from Iran comes amid a stern warning issued by the Trump administration on Thursday.

"This is not the Obama administration… is my message to them (the importers including India)," Trump's National Security Adviser John Bolton told reporters at a news briefing on Thursday.

It is worth mentioning here that the Obama administration had granted waivers to India for importing Iranian crude.

"The frequency and the ease of getting waivers and exemptions is not going to be our policy," Bolton added.

India has been lobbying hard to seek US sanctions waivers for the import of Iranian oil through Iran's Chabahar project, which is a crucial gateway providing India access to war-torn Afghanistan, in which it has huge stakes in terms of development projects.

In the last week of September, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif had expressed confidence that India will continue to import crude oil despite US sanctions.

"Our Indian friends have always been categorical in terms of their intention to continue economic cooperation and import oil from Iran. I've heard the same statement from my counterpart." Zarif said after meeting his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York.

Meanwhile, according to traders and the shipping intelligence firm Kpler, Indian refiners had purchased 84,000 barrels per day of US crude in September, 75% down from a record high of 347,000 bpd in June this year.

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