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Sunday, February 24, 2013
Indian Iran oil imports drop 21.8pc

India's Iran oil imports drop 21.8pc
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The Peninsula - 24 February, 2013
http://gitm.kcorp.net/index.php?id=635729&news_type=Economy&lang=en

India's imports of oil from Iran rose 3.7 percent in January from December,
but overall purchases fell 21.8 percent 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 Tehranís nuclear programme is aimed at making a bomb, but Iran
denies this claim.

Iranís major Asian clients ó China, India, Japan and South Korea ó have all
cut imports heavily to secure waivers and continued access to the US
financial system. New Delhi, Tehranís top oil client after China, has
reduced Iranís role as a supplier, so that it contributed about 7.4 percent
of all imports in the period from last April to January, compared to 10.7
percent a year earlier.

India is now paying Iran only in rupees for its oil after it lost another
payment route in euros through Turkeyís Halkbank after the United States
toughened sanctions from February 6, sources at domestic refiners said.

India plans to reduce imports from Iran by another 10 to 15 percent 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.

Indian oil firms are constantly diversifying their crude basket to eliminate
dependence on any particular country or region, junior oil minister
Panabaaka Lakshmi told lawmakers yesterday. New Delhi shipped in about
286,400 barrels per day (b/d) of oil from Iran in January, a decline of 41.2
percent from around 486,600 b/d of a year ago, the data showed.

Refiners adjust crude purchases from month to month to tweak their product
slate as they try to maximise profit margins. Hindustan Petroleum Corp may
have to halt Iranian oil imports from June as sanctions could mean its
refineries cannot renew insurance to process the crude. It boosted purchases
from Iraq to make up for the loss of Iranian barrels. India shipped in about
272,300 b/d oil from Iran in the period from April to January, the data
showed, below the governmentís target of 310,000 b/d for this fiscal year
ending March 31, 2013.

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