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India’s top refiner, Indian Oil Corporation, is exploring opportunities to sign an annual term deal to buy U.S. crude oil, Indian Oil’s chairman Sanjiv Singh said on Wednesday, as Indian refiners look to diversify their crude supplies amid uncertainties over whether they will continue to be allowed to purchase Iranian oil once the current U.S. sanction waivers expire.
“When we go for term, it should have price advantage for us and strategic advantage for us apart from supply sureties. So considering these three we will work out volumes also,” Singh said on Wednesday, as carried by Reuters.
The Indian company has not yet decided from which company it would procure U.S. oil, the manager noted.
India received a waiver from the U.S., alongside seven other Iranian oil customers, including the single biggest, China. The waivers allow those eight countries to continue Iranian oil imports at reduced volumes until early May 2019. India’s allowed imports from Iran are about 300,000 bpd.
Indian Oil is the single biggest customer of Iranian crude oil and has an annual deal to import 180,000 bpd from Iran in the 2018/2019 fiscal year that ends in March 2019, according to Reuters.
The U.S. waiver was for Indian Oil’s current contract, so any new agreement with Iran will depend on the conditions of a possible extension of the waiver, Singh said.
The U.S. has not given a clear signal yet whether it would be extending the waivers, or any of them, once they expire in early May 2019.
Ahead of the U.S. sanctions on Iran, Indian Oil bought in August a total of 6 million barrels of U.S. crude oil to be delivered to India between November 2018 and January 2019. In the summer of 2018, while the U.S. was threatening ‘zero’ Iranian oil exports, the biggest buyers of Iran scrambled to secure alternatives in case they were cut off from buying from Tehran.
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.