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U.S. Tries Again: Talks With India On Iranian Oil Imports

Trump and Modi

Washington and New Delhi will once again discuss Iranian oil imports into the world’s fastest-growing consumer today, S&P Global Platts reports, adding that the two Washington officials who will head the discussions—Brian Hook, who heads the Iran action group and Francis Fannon, assistant secretary for energy resources—will then fly to Europe for talks on the topic with European governments and the International Energy Agency.

Earlier negotiations between the United States and India regarding Iranian exports apparently ended with no specific result, with India reaffirming its commitment to its partnership with the United States but avoiding a pledge to cut Iranian imports to zero as Washington had requested.

Despite media reports suggesting that Indian refiners may stop buying Iranian crude from this month, government sources from New Delhi said there was no government decision to stop the purchases. Soon after, reports emerged that two Indian refiners had ordered two cargoes of Iranian oil, a total of 9 million barrels, for November delivery.

Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan earlier this week told media that India had hoped to score a sanction waiver from Washington because it had significantly reduced its intake of Iranian oil ahead of the November 4 deadline, but he mentioned no plans to bring this down to zero.

Related: Stock Market Chaos Sparks Oil Selloff

The idea of waivers was first floated by U.S. officials in June, but they made a point of noting that winning a waiver would not be easy. More recently, U.S. sources said that the nations with the best chance of scoring a waiver would be the ones that reduced their imports of Iranian oil significantly in the months before the sanctions enter into effect. This means that South Korea and Japan will probably end up with waivers.

India will also likely qualify: it is an important Asian ally for the United States and it needs a lot of oil that at some point may start coming from the United States.

"Many countries are in a place where they -- it takes a little bit of time to unwind, and we'll work with them, I am sure, to find an outcome that makes sense," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last month regarding India’s chances of winning a sanction waiver.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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  • Rohan on October 15 2018 said:
    India might stop imports after 2019 election. India's trade deficit is large due to oil.
    Other option is for US oil surplus to be sold to India in US dollars.
  • Oleg Kis on October 12 2018 said:
    I wouldn't be surprised if the CIA pays off the importers in India to stop importing from Iran.

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