Iran Sanctions: India Lines Up Alternative Sources, Supplies Not To Be Impacted
A crew man secures Gulf Marine oil drums on the deck of oil tanker ‘Devon’ as it prepares to transport crude oil from Kharq Island to India in Bandar Abbas, Iran (Photographer: Ali Mohammadi/Bloomberg)  

Iran Sanctions: India Lines Up Alternative Sources, Supplies Not To Be Impacted

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India, the second-largest buyer of Iranian oil, has lined up alternative sources to make up for the likely shortfall in supplies after the U.S. decided to not renew waivers that let countries buy oil from the Persian Gulf nation without facing sanctions.

“Our crude sources are wide. We have alternative sources lined up to make up for any shortfall,” a top source said.

U.S. President Donald Trump last year withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers and revived a range of sanctions against the Persian Gulf nation. It, however, granted a six-month waiver from sanctions to eight countries— China, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Italy and Greece—but with a condition that they would reduce their purchases of Iranian oil.

India, the biggest purchaser of Iranian oil after China, had agreed to restrict its monthly purchase to 1.25 million tonnes, or 15 million tonnes in a year (300,000 barrels per day), down from 22.6 million tonnes (452,000 barrels per day) bought in 2017-18 financial year.

“We have optional volumes (over and above the term contracts) from a number of supplier which we can exercise to make up for any shortfall from Iran,” the source said. “We can also go to the spot (or current) market to source crude.”

Also read: U.S. Ending Iran Waivers Could Affect Oil Markets and Beyond

“As far as Indian Oil is concerned, supplies will not be a problem. We have already lined up alternative sources,” he said, adding the impact of the U.S.’ decision may reflect on global oil prices which may temporarily go up.

The six-month waiver granted by the U.S. to eight countries was to expire on May 2.

Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. has the option to take 0.7 million tonnes of crude oil from Mexico on top of its committed purchase of 0.7 million tonnes during the year. From Saudi Arabia, it has an optional volume of 2 million tonnes on top of a term contract of 5.6 million tonnes.

Similarly, it has optional volumes of 1.5 million tonnes from Kuwait and another 1 million tonne from the U.A.E.

"We have all the supplies tied up and I think globally crude will be readily available but it is difficult to say what the impact will be on price," the source said.

The price of Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, rose as much as 3.3 percent to $74.31 a barrel on Monday, the highest intra-day jump in almost six months.

Also read: Oil Leaps to 6-Month High as U.S. Vows to Strangle Iran Exports

When U.S. President Donald Trump first pulled out of the nuclear deal, oil shot up to over $85 a barrel and it fell to near $50 after the U.S. administration unexpectedly granted the waivers.

U.S. sanctions on Iran's oil buyers snap back next month that will block the U.S. financial system for importers.

India, the world’s third-biggest oil consumer, meets more than 80 percent of its oil needs through imports. In 2017-18, Iran was its largest supplier after Iraq and Saudi Arabia, and meets about 10 percent of total needs.

Trump in May withdrew from the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran, re-imposing economic sanctions against the Persian Gulf nation. Some sanctions took effect from Aug. 6, while those affecting the oil and banking sectors were to start from Nov. 5, 2018. A six-month waiver was granted that was to expire on May 2.

Iran was India’s biggest supplier of crude oil after Saudi Arabia till 2010-11 but Western sanctions over its suspected nuclear programme relegated it to the seventh spot in the subsequent years. In 2013-14 and 2014-15, India bought 11 million tonnes and 10.95 million tonnes, respectively, from it.

Sourcing from Iran increased to 12.7 million tonnes in 2015-16, giving it the sixth spot. In the following year, the Iranian supplies jumped to 27.2 million tonnes to catapult it to the third spot.

Iranian oil is a lucrative buy for refiners as the Persian Gulf nation provides 60 days of credit for purchases, terms not available from suppliers of substitute crudes — Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Nigeria and the U.S.

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