June 20, 2013 / 10:59 AM / 4 years ago

TABLE-India's Essar hikes oil imports from Iran sharply in May-trade

June 20 (Reuters) - Essar Oil more than doubled crude imports from Iran in May
from a month earlier and the sanctions-hit nation was its top supplier in the first five months
of 2012, tanker data made available to Reuters show, but India's overall oil imports from Tehran
were down as state-run refiners halted purchases.
    The private refiner imported 119,400 barrels per day (bpd) of oil from Iran in May, compared
with 55,600 bpd in April and 32,500 bpd a year ago, the data showed. However, its shipments from
Tehran fell about 41 percent to 75,900 bpd in the January-May period from a year ago, when the
refiner stepped up purchases ahead of sanctions starting in July.
    Essar could be the sole Indian importer of Iranian oil in June, as two state-run refiners
have halted supplies over insurance problems and sources said Indian Oil Corp is not
planning to lift Iranian oil until the fourth quarter, without giving further details.
   The United States renewed six-month waivers on sanctions for India earlier this month in
exchange for reduced purchases of oil from Iran.
   The sanctions from Washington and from the European Union aim to block Tehran's oil revenue
over its disputed nuclear programme, which they suspect is aimed at building weapons. Iran
denies this claim. 
   "It is an opportunity for Essar to maximise purchases from Iran as overall the country's
imports from Iran will be less due to the absence of PSU (public sector undertaking) refiners,"
said an official at a state-run refiner.
    Two government-run refiners, Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd and
Hindustan Petroleum Corp, stopped importing oil from Iran from April, as local
insurers said they could no longer cover plants that process Iranian oil after Europe-based
reinsurers backed out.
    However, Essar continued using Iranian oil based on legal advice that EU sanctions are not
applicable in this situation, a document made available to Reuters showed. But there is some
uncertainty as it is up to reinsurers to interpret the sanctions.
    
    No comment was available from Essar.
    Following are details of Essar's crude and condensate imports in May versus a year ago,
according to the data. Volumes are in 1,000 bpd:
 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Region/          May     April     %chg       May     %chg   Jan-May  Jan-May     %chg
 Country         2013     2013   mth/mth      2012     yr/yr     2013     2012     yr/yr 
 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Latam
 Brazil           0.0      0.0        --      22.8    -100.0     14.0     4.7     199.3
 Colombia        69.3      0.0        --      35.9      93.1     38.2     7.4     418.6
 Ecuador          0.0      0.0        --       0.0        --      5.3     0.0        --
 Mexico           0.0     70.8    -100.0      34.3    -100.0     28.1    20.5      37.3
 Venezuela       66.7     69.1      -3.5       0.0        --     68.4     7.3     841.6
 TOTAL          136.0    139.9      -2.8      93.0      46.3    154.1    39.8     287.0
 
 Meast
 Neutral zone     0.0      0.0        --       0.0        --      8.2     0.0        --
 Oman             0.0     16.8    -100.0       0.0        --     10.0     0.0        --
 Iran           119.4     55.6     114.6      32.5     266.9     75.9   128.1     -40.7
 Iraq            64.1     65.7      -2.4     129.2     -50.3     66.6    65.8       1.1
 Qatar           14.3     29.6     -51.5      18.6     -22.9     23.1    23.2      -0.5
 S arabia         0.0      0.0        --       0.0        --     11.8     4.0     194.7
 Uae              0.0      0.0        --       0.0        --      0.0    20.6    -100.0
 TOTAL          197.9    167.7      17.9     180.3       9.7    195.5   241.7     -19.1
 
 Africa
 Nigeria          0.0      0.0        --       0.0        --      0.0     6.0    -100.0
 Egypt           18.6      0.0        --       0.0        --      7.4     0.0        --    
 TOTAL           18.6      0.0        --       0.0        --      7.4     6.0      23.5
 
 Canada           0.0      0.0        --       0.0        --      2.1     0.0        --
 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 TOTAL ALL      352.5    307.7      14.6     273.3      29.0    359.1   287.5      24.9
 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 NOTE: The total may not tally as numbers in tonnes have been rounded off after converting them
into barrels per day using a conversion factor of 7.2 barrels per tonne, divided by the number
of days.

 (Reporting by Nidhi Verma; Editing by Jo Winterbottom)

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