India to continue buying Iranian crude despite US sanctions threat
The world's third-biggest oil consumer, India, will continue importing crude from Iran despite US threats to punish companies working in the Islamic Republic past the November sanctions deadline, Reuters reports.
According to Indian Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, two local companies have placed orders to import Iranian crude next month. He said that nine million barrels of oil are expected to be purchased. Indian refiners have already imported around ten million barrels of Iranian crude this month.
Speaking at the energy forum in New Delhi on Monday, Pradhan said India did not know whether it would receive a waiver from Washington’s sanctions.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last month that the White House would only consider waivers for Iran's oil buyers if they vowed to eventually bring their imports to zero.
In May, US President Donald Trump announced America’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. He said any countries or companies that conduct transactions with Tehran were liable to face secondary sanctions. Washington’s sanctions, targeting Iran's crude oil exports, are to come into force from November 4.
India was discussing options to buy Iranian oil with all authorities, according to Pradhan who said the country was considering a different payment system to purchase crude from Iran. New Delhi and Tehran have reportedly discussed reverting to rupee trade after November 4.
“Iran has been off-and-on taking rupee payments for oil it sells. It uses rupee for paying for imports of medicines and other commodities. A similar arrangement is in works,” an unnamed source told the Times of India, adding that details of the payment mechanism would emerge in the next few weeks.
Indian Oil Corporation Chairman Sanjiv Singh said on Monday the company has recently made some payments for Iranian oil in rupees.
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