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New Delhi: India has reduced its reliance on Iran for its oil needs to less than 6% of imports, as it raised imports from countries such as Colombia and Mexico.

India imported 11 million tonnes of crude oil from Iran in the year ending 31 March 2014, down from 13.14 million tonnes in the previous fiscal, officials said.

The imports from Iran made up for 5.81% of the nation’s oil import needs in 2013-14, down from 7.11% in the previous year. India has steadily cut imports from Iran as US and Western sanctions blocked payment channels and crippled shipping routes.

It imported 21.20 million tonnes of crude oil from Iran in 2009-10, which was reduced to 18.50 million tonnes in 2010-11 and 18.11 million tonnes in 2011-12. Imports from Iran were reduced to 13.14 million tonnes in 2012-13, the year when the US had tightened the screws on Iran.

People with knowledge of the matter said Iran was India’s second biggest supplier, behind Saudi Arabia, up to 2010-11 but was relegated to 6th place in 2013-14. Saudi continues to be the biggest supplier, selling 38.18 million tonnes of oil or 20.18% of India’s total oil imports in 2013-14.

India had imported 189.24 million tonnes of crude oil from a total of 35 countries. Iraq is its second biggest supplier at 24.63 million tonnes, followed by Kuwait with 20.35 million tonnes of supplies. Nigeria is the fourth largest supplier at 16.36 million tonnes, followed by the United Arab Emirates with 13.98 million tonnes.

The people said India is diversifying its crude purchases, tapping new nations in Latin America for supplies. Imports from Colombia have been more than doubled to 6.31 million tonnes in 2013-14 from 2.80 million tonnes in the previous year.

In 2011-12, Colombia gave less than one million tonnes of oil to India. Similarly, supplies from Mexico have been raised by almost one million tonnes to 4.94 million tonnes.

The people said the Middle-East contributed 61% (115.86 million tonnes) of India’s oil while Latin America has emerged as its second-biggest supplier region, supplying 31.73 million tonnes.

Africa provided 30.39 million tonnes of oil in 2013-14.

In the current fiscal, India will import 188.2 million tonnes of oil, marginally lower than 189.24 million tonnes in the previous fiscal. About 35.5 million tonnes will come from domestic fields to meeting an estimated fuel demand of 223.7 million tonnes in 2014-15, the people said.

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