Last month, India imported the highest amount of crude oil from Iran since March 2014 as refiners increased their purchases before the final moves in the international negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program are made. The May imports were the highest in 14 months – only two months after the United States made India decrease imports from Iran to zero. In March, India did not import any Iranian crude for the first time in about ten years.
It is expected that the world powers – the U.S., Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, will finalize a deal with Iran around the end of this month. If so, sanctions on the imports from the Islamic Republic will likely be lifted next year. As a result of these punitive measures, Teheran had to cut its oil production to less than a half of the pre-sanctions levels.
India with the world’s fourth highest oil consumption is Iran’s second most important buyer after China. In May, the country bought 367,900 barrels per day of Iranian oil, which were shipped in nine vessels. This number represented a 39-percent rise from April and 75-percent increase from a year ago. Between January and May this year, India bought only 203,100 bpd of Iranian crude, which is about a third less than in the same period in 2014.
Indian refiners regulated purchases from Iran in the first three months of this year as well in order to keep shipping at 2013/2014 levels of approximately 220,000 bpd. Last month, Iran’s biggest client was Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemical Ltd, which purchased about 207,400 bpd from Teheran. Indian Oil Corp, India’s biggest refiner, shipped in about a million barrels.