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India's October Iran oil imports rise 60 pc

India bought 60 per cent more Iranian oil in October than a year ago as refiners held to higher volumes despite signs that world powers and Iran might not reach a final agreement on Tehran's disputed nuclear programme before a November 24 deadline.

Six world powers - Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the US - are negotiating with Iran to clinch a deal that, in exchange for lifting economic sanctions, would ensure Tehran's nuclear activity is not aimed at making bombs.

Iran says its nuclear work is for civil power needs only.

A year of negotiations has not resolved deep disagreements between Iran and the major powers, and a final deal is unlikely by the November date, sources told Reuters.

Any agreement would likely be followed by a rapid increase in Iran's oil exports at a time when global markets are already under pressure from a supply glut.

India, Iran's top oil client after China, imported about 309,900 barrels per day (bpd) of crude in October from Tehran, tanker arrival data obtained from trade sources shows, the highest since March and up 28 percent from September.

India's oil imports from Iran rose about 40 percent over January-October, partly due to a surge in the first quarter as an interim agreement easing Western sanctions went into effect.

Growth in Iranian oil imports this year was also due to a bounce off the low base of last year, when shipments were hit hard due to insurance problems triggered by the sanctions, particularly over the April-August period.

Private refiner Essar Oil was the biggest buyer of Iranian oil in October followed by state-run Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemical Ltd. The two are India's only regular monthly importers of Iranian crude.

India's overall imports for the month totalled 3.63 million bpd, a decline of about 3.4 per cent from a year ago, the data also showed. India's total crude imports for the January-October period fell 3.1 pe rcent.

Iran's share of Indian oil imports was about 7.2 per cent in the first ten months of this year compared with 4.9 percent last year, the data showed.

Purchases from the Middle East overall declined by 8.9 per cent over January-October, while oil imports from Africa and Latin America rose, the data also showed.--Reuters

- Jess Potts
Published on:
November 17, 2014
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