India's oil imports from Iran slump 60 pct in Feb y/y

India's oil imports from Iran slump 60 pct in Feb y/y

Brian Hook, the State Department's special representative on Iran, said in remarks at the CERAWeek energy conference that the sanctions have denied Iran roughly $10 billion in revenue since 2017, removing about 1.5 million barrels per day of Iranian oil from global markets. Brent was selling at about $67.55 a barrel on March 13.

While tracking Iran's oil exports has become an increasingly hard task after the US sanctions returned, some of the key Iranian oil customers that received USA waivers resumed buying Iran's oil in 2019 or increased imports to their respective ceiling allowed under the waivers, after an initial "wait-and-see mode" for November and December purchases amid uncertainties as to who was getting waivers.

The United States has reimposed sanctions against Iran after withdrawing from a landmark 2015 agreement under which Tehran agreed to restrictions on its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

Iran is discreetly scouring the globe for second-hand oil tankers to replace its ageing fleet and keep crucial crude exports flowing as USA sanctions start to bite, Iranian and Western sources said.

Indian refiners Hindustan Petroleum Corp and Bharat Petroleum Corp, Mangalore Refinery and Petroleum Corp and Indian Oil Corp together lifted 1.25 million tonnes or 9 million barrels of Iranian oil in February.

Hatami also emphasized that the country would not succumb to the sanctions being imposed by the United States on Iran when President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew out of the nuclear deal in May 2018.

Both sources said they were briefed by the Trump administration on the matter but were not authorized to speak publicly about it and asked for anonymity.

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The president "has made it very clear that we need to have a campaign of maximum economic pressure" on Iran, "but he also doesn't want to shock oil markets". "But we also know that there are a lot of variables that go into a well-supplied and stable oil market", said Hook, a senior policy adviser to Pompeo.

"On the numbers part, we'll get an updated assessment as we get closer to the end of the 180 day period", of the first round of waivers that ends in May, the spokesperson said.

Although the USA granted Iran's biggest oil customers - China, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Italy and Greece - waivers that have allowed them to continue limited imports, Washington is putting pressure on them to eventually reduce purchases of Iranian oil to zero. They were China and India, along with Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Italy and Greece. A third Iranian official said talks were still ongoing.

Having its tankers flagged in Iran presents problems for Tehran - even if it can secure more vessels and approved buyers for its oil, shipping experts say. Since India also buys a lot of oil from Venezuela, the United States will struggle to convince India that it can do without much of its oil imports unless a new supplier emerges from thin air.

Iran has been in discussions with South Korea to purchase several new super tankers, but the talks have gone nowhere as of yet.

He said he expects China and India purchases alone to account for around 800,000 to 900,000 bpd.

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