New Delhi: After going ahead with the S-400 missile deal with Russia despite the US threat of sanctions, reports now suggest that India may continue buying oil from Iran even after the sectoral sanction imposed by the US begin on November 4. At the same time, as a report in The Times of India said, there was no clarity on whether New Delhi will get a waiver from Washington. (Also read: CAATSA Not Aimed at Damaging Military Capabilities of Allies, Says US)
Speaking at ‘The Energy Forum’ on Monday, oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan said two state refiners had placed orders for importing oil from Iran in November. “Two of our oil companies have made nominations to purchase Iranian oil in November,” he reportedly said at ‘The Energy Forum’ on Monday. “We do not know if we will get a waiver (from US sanctions) or not.”
This is the first public statement made by the Government on its stand on sourcing Iranian oil once the US sanction on Iran pertaining to the oil industry comes into force. Pradhan said India has its own energy requirements which need to be fulfilled. “We will be guided by our national interest,” he said. Speaking to media, IndianOil chairman Sanjiv Singh confirmed his company was among the two which contracted Iranian supplies in November. “We have ordered for our usual quantity of oil,” he said while adding that they were discussing payment options.
IOC and ONGC’s refining subsidiary MRPL, (Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd) have placed an order for 1.25 million tonnes of Iranian crude. US sanctions will block payment routes. Paying in rupee is an option. This option was used to pay for Iranian oil during the sanctions imposed by the US during Barack Obama’s presidency and other European governments. Currently, India pays Iran in euros using European banking channels but these would be blocked from November, said the report. Buying oil from Iran is a good option for India because of the 60 days of credit and practically free shipping and insurance. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Nigeria, and the US do not offer these terms.