India has once again ignored US sanctions, after signing S-400 missile deal with Russia, now has placed orders for importing crude oil from Iran, next month, the month when US sanctions on Iranin oil purchases take effect. Indian Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has declared today that two state refiners have placed orders for importing crude oil from Iran. “Two of our oil companies have made nominations to purchase Iranian oil in November,” he added.
Speaking at The Energy Forum, in New Delhi, he said that “We do not know if we will get waiver (from US sanctions) or not.” This is the first time Pradhan has spoken about India’s stand on buying Iranian oil once the US sanctions on Iran come into force from November 4. Later, talking to reporters, he said India has its own energy requirements which it has to fulfil. “We will be guided by our national interest,” he added.
Indian Oil Corp (IOC) Chairman Sanjiv Singh said his company is among the two which have placed order for November. “We have ordered for our usual quantity of oil,” he said. IOC and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL) together have placed order for 1.25 million tonne (MT) of crude oil from Iran.
Singh said options for paying for Iranian oil are under discussions. US sanctions against Iran will kick in from November 4, which will block payment routes. Paying in rupee is an option. Iran can use the rupee to settle its imports of pharmaceuticals and other goods from India.
India had planned to import about 25 MT of crude oil from Iran in 2018-19, up from 22.6 MT imported in 2017-18. But the actual volumes imported may be far less as companies like Reliance Industries have totally stopped buying oil from Iran and others too are scaling it down in hope of winning a sanction waiver from the US.