New Delhi: India’s oil imports from Iran fell 41.5% in October from a year ago to the lowest in seven months, according to tanker arrival data obtained by Reuters, as state-run refiner MRPL cut imports due to a maintenance shutdown.
India, Iran’s top customer after China, took 181,200 barrels per day (bpd) oil from Tehran in October, down 22.3% from September, according to the data and a report compiled by Thomson Reuters Oil Research and Forecasts.
Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL), which operates a 300,000-barrels-per-day (bpd) coastal refinery in southern India, is a key Indian oil client of Iran.
The refiner had shut nearly 46% of its crude processing capacity for about a month from 18 September for planned maintenance.
MRPL planned fewer purchases of Iran oil for last month as its biggest crude distillation unit (CDU) was shut, a company source said.
While MRPL received about 45,000 bpd Iranian oil in October, private refiner Essar Oil took about 136,300 bpd, the data showed.
India, the world’s fourth-biggest oil consumer, bought 21.8% less Iranian crude for the January-October period at about 212,600 bpd, the data also showed.
India’s imports from Iran for the year-to-date have been dragged down by deep cuts in shipments by New Delhi in the first quarter of 2015, under pressure from the United States to keep its imports within the limits of sanctions targeting Tehran’s disputed nuclear programme.
In the first seven months of India’s fiscal year, running from April through October, its oil imports from Iran jumped 5.6% to 249,100 bpd as refiners raised purchases after the July deal that may mean the removal of sanctions next year.
Iran’s overall crude oil and condensate sales looked to be headed towards a seven-month low in October, down 13% from September, according to tanker loading data.
Tehran is keen to recoup market share ceded under US and European Union sanctions and boost the country’s battered economy but will not see significant relief until next year, once agreed hurdles to increased oil exports have been cleared.
Asian imports of Iranian oil fell nearly 6% from a year earlier in September, as most of Iran’s biggest crude buyers held off from increasing purchases after July’s landmark agreement. Reuters