India to continue buying Iranian crude despite United States sanctions threat

Kenny Grant
October 8, 2018

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were down 54 cents, or 0.7 percent, at $73.80 a barrel.

The U.S. was said to be in talks with countries that want to continue buying from Iran after American sanctions are imposed November 4.

However, the Trump administration this weekend announced it is considering waivers on sanctions for countries that are merely reducing their imports of Iranian oil.

India will buy a total of 9 million barrels of oil from Iran in November, foreign media reported yesterday, citing an industry source, despite United States sanctions on Tehran to return early next month.

A USA government official, who spoke on the grounds of anonymity, said the Trump administration is "in the midst of an internal process" of considering exceptions called SRE waivers, or significant reduction exemptions.

The government was discussing its options to buy Iranian oil with all authorities, Pradhan said.

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India is the world's third-largest oil importer, and Iran's second-biggest oil customer after China.

Two domestic companies have placed orders to buy Iranian oil in November, oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Monday, adding that the government does not yet know if it will be granted a waiver from U.S. sanctions on Iran.

He argues that it would put in jeopardy projects such as Chabahar Port in south-eastern Iran which India sees as both an entry channel for Afghanistan and counter-balance to the nearby Chinese-built Gwadar port just across the border in south-western Pakistan. New Delhi and Tehran have reportedly discussed reverting to rupee trade after November 4.

Zanganeh accused Tehran's regional rival Saudi Arabia of bowing to US pressure, saying such remarks had no "real impact on the market" but were part of a psychological war launched against Iran.

Crude futures rose to a four-year high this past week as the market prepares for the return of USA sanctions on Iran, the world's seventh largest producer of oil and a significant military power in the Strait of Hormuz, through which a third of the world's oil supply passes each day.

"(Mohammed) bin Salman's remarks and such bragging can only satisfy (U.S. President Donald) Trump.

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