NEW DELHI: Trade sources said Tuesday that India imported about 38 per cent more oil from Iran in the 11 months to November as an easing of Western sanctions earlier in the year over Tehran’s disputed nuclear activities helped boost shipments.
Iran and six powers, the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany, will resume talks on Wednesday to resolve the 12-year dispute over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, after earlier failing to strike a long-term deal by a self-imposed Nov. 24 deadline. An eventual deal would remove sanctions on Tehran and likely lead to another jump in Iranian exports, further dragging on global oil prices that are mired near their lowest in more than five years amid a supply glut.
India, Iran’s top client after China, imported 250,600 barrels per day (bpd) crude last month, tanker arrival data obtained from trade sources show, a growth of 14 per cent from a year ago and a decline of 19 per cent from October. Private refiner Essar Oil was the biggest buyer of Iranian oil in November followed by state-run Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemical Ltd. The two are India’s only regular monthly importers of Iranian crude. Arrivals from Iran over the first 11 months of the year stood at 270,100 bpd, up 37.7 per cent on year. The growth in Iranian oil imports this year was also due to the low base in 2013, when shipments were hit over April to August due to insurance problems triggered by the sanctions.
In the first eight months of the current contract year beginning April, India shipped in 35 per cent more oil from Iran from a year ago at about 174,000 bpd, the data showed. India’s overall imports for November totalled 3.86 million bpd, a growth of about 6.8 percent from a year ago, the data showed. India’s total crude imports for the January-November period fell 2.3 percent. Iran’s share of Indian oil imports was about 7.1 per cent in the first eleven months of the year, compared with 5 percent last year, the data showed. Overall purchases from the Middle East declined by 7.7 per cent over January-November, while oil imports from Africa and Latin America rose, the data also showed.