Refiners put Iran oil orders for May on hold as India awaits word from US

New Delhi: As India awaits clarity on whether the United States is going to extend the waiver granted to the country or not, Indian refiners are holding their May orders for Iranian oil, sources have said. According to a Reuters report, sources were quoted as saying that in the next seven to 10 days, India is hoping to get some clarity on the extension and the amount of oil that can be purchased if it gets an extension. “We don’t know about US thinking, whether they will allow India to buy oil or not,” said one of the sources, all of whom refused to be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue.

The current status

Under the current terms and conditions laid down in the current waiver, India could buy 300,000 barrels per day of Iranian oil — about half of what it imported before the sanctions were imposed. Sources said that India wants to keep oil imports from Iran at the same level. After the sanctions took effect in November last year, only state-run Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL), Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals have been buying Iranian oil.

India decides to wait and watch

“Sanctions against IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) have also added to the uncertainty over supply of Iranian oil … in the current scenario when enough alternatives are available it is better to wait for a clarity,” said another source. On Monday, US President Donald Trump designated Iran’s Guards as a foreign terrorist organisation.

US pursuing plan to bring Iran crude export to zero

According to Brian Hook, the special US envoy for Iran, Washington is pursuing its plan to bring Iranian crude exports to zero. Last week, Hook had said that three of eight importers who had been granted a waiver by the US had cut their oil shipments to zero.