India Oil Imports Up 60%

 India Oil Imports Up 60%  India Oil Imports Up 60%

India bought 60 percent more Iranian oil in October than a year ago as refiners held to higher volumes amid uncertainty as to whether world powers and Iran would reach a final agreement on Iran's disputed nuclear program before a Nov. 24 deadline.

Six world powers - Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States - are negotiating with Iran to clinch a deal that, in exchange for lifting economic sanctions, would ensure Tehran's nuclear activity is for civil power needs only.

Any agreement would likely be followed by a rapid increase in Iran's oil exports at a time when global markets are already under pressure from a supply glut.

India, Iran's top oil client after China, imported about 309,900 barrels per day (bpd) of crude in October from Tehran, the highest since March and up 28 percent from September, Reuters reported, referring to tanker arrival data obtained from trade sources.

India's oil imports from Iran rose about 40 percent over January-October, partly due to a surge in the first quarter as an interim agreement easing Western sanctions went into effect. Growth in Iranian oil imports this year was also due to a bounce off the low base of last year, when shipments were hit hard due to insurance problems triggered by the sanctions, particularly over the April-August period.

Private refiner Essar Oil was the biggest buyer of Iranian oil in October followed by state-run Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemical Ltd. The two are India's only regular monthly importers of Iranian crude.

Iran's share of Indian oil imports was about 7.2 percent in the first ten months of this year compared with 4.9 percent last year, the data showed.

Purchases from the Middle East overall declined by 8.9 percent over January-October, while oil imports from Africa and Latin America rose.