New buyer of Iran oil withdraws from trade

New buyer of Iran oil withdraws from trade

NEW DELHI - Reuters
India’s HPCL-Mittal Energy Ltd (HMEL), part-owned by steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal, plans to stop importing oil from Iran, a company spokesman said, in a move that could hurt Iran and help New Delhi secure a waiver renewal from U.S. sanctions.

Reuters earlier reported that HMEL had emerged as a new client for Tehran and had bought 2 million barrels oil between the start of September and mid-October.

Claims on Turkey efforts

HMEL began buying Iranian oil without having a banking mechanism in place to settle Iran payment. The company is now trying to open an account with Turkey’s Halkbank to pay for Iranian oil, two industry sources said.

Indian customers of Iranian oil currently settle 45 percent of their trade in euros through Halkbank and pay the remainder in rupees through an Indian bank.

HMEL has since bought another 2 million barrels of oil, for its 180,000 barrels per day (bpd) Bathinda refinery in northern Punjab state, which was delivered at end-October by Iranian very large crude carrier Majestic, formerly known as Glory, sources privy to the development said.

“While it is a stated policy of the company not to discuss its crude procurement plan, the recent crude purchased from Iran by HMEL was based on operational requirements during stabilisation of the refinery. HMEL does not plan to buy any more crude from Iran,” an HMEL spokesman said in an emailed response to questions from Reuters.

In June Washington granted India a 180-day waiver from sanctions, which would have cut it off from the U.S. financial system, because it had reduced its purchases of the OPEC nation’s oil.-run refiner Hindustan Petroleum Corp and Mittal each own 49 percent in the joint venture HMEL.