New Delhi/Dubai: Refiners have asked top exporter Saudi Arabia for more oil for August to pre-empt any supply disruption from Iran as Tehran pushes New Delhi to the brink in a payments dispute, sources involved in the talks said on Wednesday.
Iran has threatened to halt supplies to India in August if the two sides do not quickly resolve the dispute for 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude that would be acceptable to India’s allies, particularly the United States.
With only 11 days to go before the end of July, Iran has yet to inform Indian refiners what volume they will receive in August, two sources at state-run refiners said.
Nervous refiners have begun looking for alternative oil supplies.
“India’s Bharat Petroleum , Hindustan Petroleum and Essar Oil have each asked for one million barrels extra (from Saudi Arabia) for August,” a source with knowledge of the matter said.
An official at HPCL confirmed it was seeking additional Saudi oil volumes for August.
Indian refiners had already turned to Saudi Arabia in July as their talks to find ways to pay Iran for its crude, worth about $12 billion a year, dragged on into a seventh month.
RBI triggered the payments problem in December when it stopped clearing payments.
Saudi Arabia could supply India with a blend specially made to substitute for any disruption in Iranian supplies, a Gulf industry source said.
Saudi Arabia has boosted supply unilaterally to meet rising demand after an Opec meeting in June failed to agree to raise output. Regional rival Iran has been amongst the most vociferous members of Opec opposing any increase in output.