India defies USA, buying Iranian oil despite sanctions
India defies USA, buying Iranian oil despite sanctions
10 October, 2018, 02:01
"The oil market mood is exceptionally bullish, with fears growing that the US demands for an Iran oil embargo could cause a significant supply shortfall", said Julius Baer commodities research analyst Carsten Menke.
India's Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan speaks during an interview with Reuters in New Delhi, India, June 12, 2015. "We have ordered for our usual quantity of oil", he said while adding that they were discussing payment options. Iranian oil exports are declining fast, and the Saudi's have to find a way to increase production quickly.
A vessel carrying 2 million barrels of Iranian oil was reported on Tuesday to have discharged the crude into a bonded storage tank at the port of Dalian in northeast China.
The news of India's continued importation of Iranian crude had a positive effect on oil prices, with Brent crude down 1.6% to $82.79 at the time of writing on Monday morning.
According to Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, India will continue to import oil from Iran in November despite the looming USA sanctions on that country. However, according to Alice G. Wells, principal deputy assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, the USA has not taken any decision on sanctioning India for importing oil from Iran and investing in the Chabahar port.
During the first round of sanctions when European Union joined the USA in imposing financial restrictions, India initially used a Turkish bank to pay Iran for the oil it bought but beginning February 2013 paid almost half of the oil import bill in rupees while keeping the remainder pending till opening of payment routes. An industry source who also tracks exports said October shipments so far were below 1 million bpd.
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Trump administration officials told the Free Beacon in June they are "not granting waivers" to some countries importing Iranian oil, but walked that statement back late Monday when a US official disclosed it is now actively working to grant "individual countries" waivers from the new oil sanctions.
In May, Trump pulled the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal despite objection from the other signatories, the UK, Russia, Germany, China, and France, re-imposing sanctions lifted under the deal.
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Moody's Investors Service in a report on Monday said the government's decision was credit negative for Indian state-owned oil marketing companies IOC, BPCL and HPCL.
In the run-up to 2019 general elections, Fitch Ratings recently raised the spectre of return of state control on fuel pricing in India.
"Oil should not only be priced from a producers' point of view consumers interest should also be taken care of", he said.
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