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India is not booking Iranian crude oil due to load in May, as refiners in one of Iran’s key oil customers are waiting for more clarity from the U.S. on whether India will get its sanctions waiver extended, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing four sources.
The U.S. waivers for eight key Iranian oil customers, including the biggest buyers China, India, Japan, and South Korea, expire in early May.
While the U.S. Administration says that it continues to pursue zero Iranian oil exports, analysts expect Washington to extend waivers to at least a few of the currently exempted buyers, with reduced volumes allowed under the new waivers, as the Administration wouldn’t want to push oil prices too high.
According to Reuters’ sources today, India hopes to have more clarity within ten days on whether the U.S. will extend the sanctions waiver and on the volumes of oil that India would be allowed to purchase in case its waiver is extended.
Under its current exemption from the U.S. sanctions on Iran, India is allowed to buy some 300,000 bpd of Iranian oil.
As the ‘waivers window’ is shrinking as we approach early May, buyers may be rushing to buy what they can before April to squeeze in under the current waiver in case waivers are not extended, according to analysts.
Japanese refiners, for example, are unlikely to continue buying Iranian crude from April onwards, the president of the Petroleum Association of Japan, Takashi Tsukuoka, said last month, as quoted by Reuters.
South Korea, meanwhile, is discussing a waivers extension with U.S. officials and is calling on the Trump Administration to show “utmost flexibility” in allowing Seoul to continue importing Iranian oil, Korean outlet KBS WORLD reported on Tuesday, quoting a South Korean official.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.