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Indian State Refiner BPCL To Resume Buying Iranian Oil

India’s state-run Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) will resume importing oil from Iran in February after a three-month hiatus that began with the U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil, Reuters reported on Monday, citing three industry sources.

In the months immediately preceding the return of the U.S. sanctions on Iran, many Indian state-run refiners had refrained from nominating Iranian oil loadings because of the initial uncertainty over which countries would be granted waivers to continue importing crude from Iran and because countries had to significantly reduce imports to qualify for potential waivers.

India—Iran’s second-largest oil customer after China—received a waiver to continue Iranian imports at reduced rates, alongside seven other major buyers of Iranian oil.

Under the waiver valid until early May 2019, India has to restrict its oil imports from Iran to 1.25 million tons, or 9 million barrels, in one month, according to Reuters.

BPCL will buy 1 million barrels of Iranian oil in February, the industry sources told Reuters today.

Another Indian state-run oil refiner, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL), will also buy 1 million barrels of Iranian oil in February.

Last month, sources told Reuters that HPCL would return to buying 1 million barrels of Iranian oil in January after a pause of six months. In July, Hindustan Petroleum cancelled a crude oil shipment from Iran after its insurer refused to provide coverage for the cargo on concern about U.S. sanctions.

Related: Has U.S. Fracking Activity Peaked Already?

Despite the return of BPCL and HPCL buying Iranian crude, India will keep within its 9-million-barrels monthly limit for imports from the Islamic Republic in February, the industry sources told Reuters on Monday.

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BPCL and HPCL will buy 1 million barrels each, the top Indian refiner Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) will lift another 5 million barrels, and Mangalore Petrochemicals Ltd will buy 2 million barrels in February, down from 3 million barrels in January, according to Reuters’ sources.

In November, India’s oil imports from Iran dropped to a one-year-low, plunging by 41 percent from October due to the U.S. sanctions, according to industry sources and ship-tracking data compiled by Reuters. Iran also dropped to sixth place on India’s largest oil suppliers list, from fourth in October, losing market share to fellow OPEC members Saudi Arabia, Iraq, the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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