India’s oil imports from Iran dropped to a one-year-low in November, plunging by 41 percent from October due to the U.S. sanctions, Reuters reported on Thursday, citing industry sources and ship-tracking data.
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).
In November, the month on which the U.S. sanctions snapped back, India’s oil imports from Iran averaged 276,000 bpd, a 41-percent plunge from October, as India had cut back significantly allocations for November amid uncertainties over who might be getting a U.S. waiver to continue importing oil from Iran.
India did get a waiver, 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 next year. India’s allowed imports from Iran are about 300,000 bpd.
In November, Iran was only sixth among India’s top oil suppliers. Iraq and Saudi Arabia held the first two spots, while the UAE—sixth in October—moved up to third place, ousting Venezuela to fourth. Nigeria held onto its fifth position, but Iran moved from fourth in October to sixth in November, according to industry and ship-tracking data obtained by Reuters.
India’s oil imports from Iran before the U.S. sanctions returned were higher than last year’s low base for comparison, when India had cut back Iranian oil purchases over a dispute with Tehran that had snubbed Indian companies in developing a gas field in Iran. In April to November this year, India’s oil imports from Iran averaged 563,000 bpd, up by 32 percent compared to the same period last year, according to the data from industry sources reviewed by Reuters.
In its imports of Iranian oil going forward, until the waivers last, India will have to rely on Iranian ships for the oil transportation because its own shipping firms and international companies are not risking crossing the U.S. by carrying Iranian oil, and wound down Iranian crude shipment operations well in advance of the sanctions.
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.