Private companies have not booked any oil cargo from Iran.
To avoid exposure to the United States’ (US) secondary sanctions on Iran, scheduled to be slapped on 4 November this year, the country’s oil companies have halted import and have not booked any oil cargo containers from Iran for November, sources close to the shipping companies said.
According to sources, the companies that have not booked any oil cargo from Iran for November include Reliance Industries Limited and Nayara Energy.
Both the companies are in the list of the four largest buyers of Iranian oil in India.
A source close to the shipping lines told The Sunday Guardian: “In order to avoid the wrath of US sanctions and protect their business interests in the US, oil firms, namely Reliance Industries and Nayara Energy, have not booked any oil containers from Iran for November.”
The sources also informed this newspaper that Reliance Industries, one of the country’s major Iranian oil importers, has already halted its oil import from October this year.
Reliance Industries’ decision not to import oil is likely to be a big blow to Iranian oil exports to India as the company owns the world’s biggest refining complex and has a major share in the total oil imports from Iran, according to industry experts.
“The container tracking data clearly shows that Reliance Industries had imported 2 million barrels of Iranian oil in September, but it has not booked any oil cargo for October-November. The company’s decision to halt purchase of Iranian oil from October came after the insurer of Reliance Industries’ oil imports had cautioned it,” the same source cited above said.
This reporter had sent a mail to Reliance Industries, seeking the company’s comment on the oil import cut; however, the response is still awaited.
However, according to another source close to the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), state-owned oil companies, namely the Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL), have booked cargo of 1.25 million tonnes of oil from Iran for import in November.
The SCI works as a carrier of state-owned oil companies—IOCL and BPCL—for importing oil from Iran. Earlier, speaking to the media, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had said that the Centre will explore all possible measures to ensure that oil imports from Iran continue.
“The Centre is working at the possibility of reviving the rupee-rial arrangement that was functional before the US sanctions were lifted. The move will facilitate buyers a smooth shipping of oil from Iran to India,” the SCI source said.
India is the second-largest buyer of Iranian oil, having imported an average of 577,000 barrels a day this year, as per tracking data available for oil shipments.
Effective from 5 November, secondary sanctions related to Iran’s port and shipping sector, petroleum-related purchases from Iran, transactions with Iran’s Central Bank and other Iranian financial institutions, the provision of specialised financial messaging services, the provision of insurance, and engagement or investment in Iran’s energy sector, will be re-imposed.