India expected to keep buying Iranian oil despite sanctions by US

Daniel Fowler
October 10, 2018

Indian refiners imported around 10 million barrels of Iranian oil in October, and its November shipments are expected to be lower.

"We view this [oil] as one of our top national security priorities", a senior administration official told the Free Beacon at the time.

Oil prices steadied on Wednesday after the International Monetary Fund lowered its global economic growth forecasts, but markets were supported as Hurricane Michael closed almost 40 percent of U.S. Gulf of Mexico oil output and U.S. sanctions restricted Iranian exports.

Iran has warned that if it can not sell its oil due to USA pressure, then no other regional country will be allowed to do so either, threatening to block the Strait of Hormuz.

India, the world's third biggest oil importer, is grappling with a combination of rising oil prices and falling local currency, which makes imports of dollar-denominated oil more expensive.

State owned oil and gas company, Indian Oil, was thought to be planning on purchasing 6 million barrels of Iranian oil next month, while Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals were set to buy 3 million barrels, Reuters reported on Friday, citing two unidentified industry sources.

While Washington has said it wants to cut Iran's oil exports to zero, Iran and Saudi Arabia say that is unlikely.

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With the European Union considering the creation of a "special goal vehicle" before November to facilitate trade with Iran, India hopes to find a way to settle payments to Tehran. This likely means we won't see any serious buying this week unless the price is right.

In August, Trump reimposed economic sanctions against Tehran and said that anyone doing business with Iran would not be doing business with the US.

UCO Bank had in the previous round of sanctions handled rupee payments.

During the first round of sanctions when European Union joined the United States in imposing financial restrictions, India initially used a Turkish bank to pay Iran for the oil it bought but beginning February 2013 paid almost half of the oil import bill in rupees while keeping the remainder pending till opening of payment routes.

Iran may indeed have not cut production yet to match the rate of decline in its exports, as the country appears to be storing more oil on ships as it did during sanctions that applied until the 2015 nuclear deal.

BP's Chief Executive Bob Dudley was quoted by media as saying that Uncertainty surrounding Iran's oil industry ahead of forthcoming USA sanctions could prompt "extreme volatility" for oil prices.

Has the simmering crude oil market peaked, even if for the time being?

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