November 30, 2012 / 11:43 AM / 6 years ago

India's Apr-Oct imports of Iran oil down 12 pct yr/yr

* India imported about 366,400 bpd from Iran in October

* Overall imports in Oct at 4.25 million bpd, up 33.5 percent y/y

* Imports in Jan-Oct rose 1.8 percent to 3.24 million bpd y/y

By Nidhi Verma

NEW DELHI, Nov 30 (Reuters) - India’s oil imports from Iran rose 14 percent in October from September but for the first seven months of the contract year were down 12 percent, data from trade sources showed on Friday, as New Delhi aims to win a renewal of a waiver from U.S. sanctions.

Iran’s second biggest client after China, India imported 276,900 barrels per day (bpd) of oil from the OPEC member in the April-October period, tanker arrival data showed.

That was down from 315,800 bpd a year earlier and below the government’s target of 310,000 bpd.

The United States and the European Union have imposed sanctions to block oil revenues for Iran to pressure it over a nuclear programme they suspect is aimed at building weapons, a claim which Tehran denies.

India imported 366,400 bpd of oil from Iran in October, a rise of 17 percent from a year ago as Tehran’s latest client HPCL-Mittal Energy Ltd took 3 million barrels while Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL) imported normal volumes after a gap of three months.

MRPL’s buying has been constrained since July, when European sanctions made it tough to ship, insure and pay for Iran oil.

HMEL, part owned by steel tycoon L. N. Mittal, has said it will not lift any more oil from Iran.

New Delhi received a 180-day waiver in June from U.S. sanctions that target financial institutions after it reduced its imports from Iran. Renewal is expected to be granted next month if India proves further reduction in purchases.

Renewal of the waiver would also exempt India, which imports about 80 percent of its oil needs, from a new package of tougher sanctions aimed at reducing global trade with Iran in the energy, shipping and metal sectors.

Iran had already slipped to third place among India’s oil suppliers in 2011/12, behind Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

Imports from Iran in the first 10 months of the calendar year totalled 328,400 bpd, 7 percent higher than a year earlier, when New Delhi and Tehran struggled for much of the year to find a stable payment mechanism.

Iran’s output rose by around 70,000 bpd to 2.7 million bpd in October, according to the International Energy Agency.

Overall, India imported 4.25 million bpd of oil in October, up 33.5 percent from a year earlier, while imports for the January-October period rose 1.8 percent to 3.24 million bpd to fuel expanding refining capacities.

To replace Iranian volumes, India imported about 71 percent more oil from Latin America in the January-October period, with the region accounting for about 16 percent of overall imports, up from 10 percent a year ago.

The Middle East region supplied about 72 percent of India’s oil imports in January to October compared with 69 percent a year ago.

Reporting by Nidhi Verma; editing by Jason Neely

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