NEW DELHI, Jan 13 India’s annual oil imports from Iran surged to a record high in 2016 as some refiners resumed purchases after the lifting of sanctions against Tehran, according to ship tracking data and a report compiled by Thomson Reuters Oil Research and Forecasts.
The sharp increase propelled Iran into fourth place among India’s suppliers in 2016, up from seventh position in 2015. It used to be India’s second-biggest supplier before sanctions.
For the year, the world’s third biggest oil consumer bought about 473,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil from Iran to feed expanding refining capacity, up from 208,300 bpd in 2015, the data showed.
In December, imports from Iran trebled from a year earlier to about 546,600 bpd.
In 2015 refiners slowed purchases due to sanctions which choked payment routes, insurance and halved Iran’s exports.
Indian refiners Reliance Industries, Hindustan Petroleum, Bharat Petroleum and HPCL-Mittal Energy Ltd (HMEL) last year resumed imports from Tehran, attracted by the discount offered by Iran.
“In most of 2016 there was a fight among Gulf producers to increase their market share and lifting of sanctions against Iran has intensified that fight,” said Ehsan ul Haq, senior analyst at London-based consultancy KBC Energy Economics. More info
By Nidhi Verma reuters.com