India cuts oil imports in January to achieve fiscal target

In view of the growing purchases, India has asked its refiners to limit oil purchases from Iran with an aim to maintain its oil intake in current fiscal in line with its previous fiscal. With these cuts, India’s oil purchases in January declined to 21.5% from the previous month and the imports during the month recorded a decrease three times less than a year ago.

By Sai Nikesh D

With March 31, 2015 deadline ending Tehran’s isolation by world nations in return for curbs to its nuclear programme, arriving sooner, India is aiming at maintaining its oil shipments from Iran in the current fiscal year 2014-15, to remain in line with its shipments in the previous fiscal year 2013-14.

To this effect, according to reports on Thursday, India has slashed its oil imports from Iran in January, 2015, as New Delhi hurried to make oil purchases from Iran.

In this regard, India has also asked its refiners in January to cut oil purchases from Iran, saying the purchases are going above the sanctioned limits and also to maintain the purchases in line with 2013 levels of 11 million tonnes or 220,000 Barrels Per Day(BPD).

With these cuts, India’s oil purchases in January declined to 21.5% from the previous month and the imports during the month recorded a decrease three times less than a year ago.

India purchased 273,500 BPD of Iranian crude in January, 2015, which is lesser than 348,400 barrels BPD in December 2014, which is the highest since March.

Despite these cuts, India’s daily average volumes during April-January of the current fiscal year still remain above the sanction limits.

According to the reports, Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd remained as the biggest Indian client for Iran oil purchases in January, followed by Essar Oil.

In the first 10 months of this fiscal year, India has purchased about 10.6 million tons or 252,500 BPD and the two companies are also expected to purchase additional 392,000 tonnes or 102,200 BPD from Iran in February, say the sources.

With this, India’s oil purchases by the end of the current fiscal year 2014-15 could reach its 11 million tonnes target, if the purchases in March do not grow much higher than expected.

The US President Obama had stated earlier this week that extending the March deadline for ending sanctions on Tehran would not be of any use, if Tehran remains rigid in its decision.

In this regard, the Western officials have also agreed to go by March 31st deadline to lift sanctions on Iran.

 

This article was published in The Dollar Business on February 13, 2015.

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