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Refinery Official Sees India Getting U.S. Waiver For Iran Oil Imports

Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals, a subsidiary of India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), expects India to receive this month a waiver from the U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil, Mangalore’s Managing Director M. Venkatesh said on Tuesday.

“It is important for India to get some barrels of crude from Iran otherwise if Saudi and major producers are not able to jack up their production, it will impact prices,” Reuters quoted Venkatesh as saying on the sidelines of an India energy forum.

Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals will be looking to purchase crude oil from Iraq to replace oil from Iran, the official said.

The company has already paid for some Iranian oil purchases in Indian rupees, he added.

India is Iran’s second-largest single oil customer after China and was expected to cut back on Iranian oil purchases, but it is unlikely to cut off completely the cheap Iranian oil that is suitable for its refineries.

India wants to keep importing oil from Iran, because Tehran offers some discounts and incentives for Indian buyers at a time when the Indian government is struggling with higher oil prices and a weakening local currency that additionally weighs on its oil import bill.

But the United States continues to insist that it expects Iranian oil buyers to bring their purchases down to zero.

Last week, Indian officials said that they hoped India could secure a waiver from the United States, because it has significantly reduced purchases of Iranian oil. Earlier this month, the United States hinted that it was at least considering waivers.

Recent reports have it that India is also discussing ditching the U.S. dollar in its trading of oil with Russia, Venezuela, and Iran, instead settling the trade either in Indian rupees or under a barter agreement.

Meanwhile, Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook is touring India and Europe to discuss U.S. foreign policy toward Iran, the U.S. Department of State said last Thursday.

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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