India’s Iran oil imports drop 21.8pc
New Delhi, February 23, 2013
India's imports of oil from Iran rose 3.7 per cent in January from December, but overall purchases fell 21.8 per cent in the first 10 months, data from trade sources shows, as New Delhi cut dependence on Tehran under the pressure of sanctions.
European Union and US sanctions aimed at forcing Iran to curb its disputed nuclear programme have more than halved Iran's oil exports in 2012. The West believes Tehran's nuclear programme is aimed at making a bomb, but Iran denies this claim.
Iran's major Asian clients - China, India, Japan and South Korea - have all cut imports heavily to secure waivers and continued access to the US financial system.
New Delhi, Tehran's top oil client after China, has reduced Iran's role as a supplier, so that it contributed about 7.4 per cent of all imports in the period from last April to January, compared to 10.7 per cent a year earlier.
India is now paying Iran only in rupees for its oil after it lost another payment route in euros through Turkey's Halkbank after the US toughened sanctions from February 6, sources at domestic refiners said.
India plans to reduce imports from Iran by another 10 to 15 per cent in the next contract year starting April 1, and more if Tehran does not lower prices to help cover costs resulting from Western sanctions, sources have said.
New Delhi shipped in about 286,400 barrels per day (bpd) of oil from Iran in January, a decline of 41.2 per cent from around 486,600 bpd a year ago, the data showed.
India, the world's fourth biggest oil importer, shipped in about 272,300 bpd oil from Iran between April and January, the data showed, below the government's target of 310,000 bpd for this fiscal year ending on March 31. – TradeArabia News Service