India to buy 12% less Iran oil in April 2019 against previous month March 2019: Reuters

Indian state refiners will lift 8 million barrels of Iranian oil in April, a decline of about 12 per cent from the previous month, a Reuters report quoted industry sources, as the nation is in talks with the United States to renew the waiver from U.S. sanctions against Tehran.

The United States introduced sanctions aimed at crippling Iran’s oil revenue-dependent economy in November but gave a six-month waiver to eight nations, including India, which allowed them to import some Iranian oil.

India has been allowed by Washington to continue to buy about 300,000 bpd oil or 9 million barrels in a month till early May. Delhi, Tehran’s biggest oil client after China, has decided to lift lower volumes in April as a ‘precautionary measure ahead of renewal of waiver,’ said the Reuters report.

The United States aims to cut Iran’s crude exports by about 20 per cent to below 1 million bpd from May by requiring importing countries to reduce purchases to avoid U.S. sanctions. United States will likely renew waivers to sanctions for most countries buying Iranian crude, including the biggest buyers China and India, in exchange for pledges to cut combined imports to below 1 million bpd. That would be around 250,000 bpd below Iran’s current exports of 1.25 million bpd.

It is not yet clear if reduced volumes of 8 million barrels a month is the new condition imposed by Washington for granting a second waiver to New Delhi from sanctions against Tehran.

For March, Indian Oil Corp (IOC) had placed an order for 5 million barrels, Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd  for 2 million, and Hindustan Petroleum Corp and Bharat Petroleum Corp for 1 million each. In April, IOC would lift 4 million barrels, while there is no change in volumes to be loaded by other companies.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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