NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India’s Iran oil imports rose marginally in January compared to the previous month as Indian refiners received full volumes from the key OPEC producers Saudi Arabia and Iraq, shipping data showed on Wednesday.
Iran used to be India’s second-biggest oil supplier, a position which now belongs to regional-rival Iraq after tough Western sanctions over its nuclear development programme limited Tehran’s exports and access to finance.
In January, Iran was the third biggest oil supplier to India after Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
India’s oil imports from Iran have risen sharply after those sanctions were lifted a year ago.
In January, Iranian oil imports more than trebled compared with the same month last year, rising to 554,600 barrels per day (bpd), according to ship tracking data and a report compiled by Thomson Reuters Oil Research and Forecasts.
In the first 10 months of this fiscal year, between April and January, India imported 532,800 bpd from Iran, compared to about 228,600 bpd for the same period a year ago. Average oil volumes supplied by Iran in April-January are highest so far.
Indian refiners including Reliance Industries Ltd, operator of the world’s biggest refinery complex at Jamnagar, that had stopped imports from Iran during the sanctions period, have also returned as buyers of Iranian oil.
During January India’s oil imports from Brazil surged to its highest level since April 2015, while imports from Venezuela plunged, almost matching the supplies received in August 2016.
Nigerian oil supplies, hit by militant attack on the African nation’s major Trans Forcados Pipeline, to India fell by 54 percent last month from a year ago. That forced key Indian clients of Nigeria, mostly state-run companies, to turn to Angola. Imports from Angola rose nearly 70 percent.
Reporting by Nidhi Verma; Editing by Michael Perry