Published: Fri, November 02, 2018
Markets | By Otis Pena

USA curbs looming, India reduces Iran oil imports by 30%

USA curbs looming, India reduces Iran oil imports by 30%

Asked about reports that the U.S. was going to grant India waiver from the Iran sanctions, Ministry of External Affairs' official spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the government has not heard anything from Washington. "Administration officials used to tell us it's OK to give Iran concessions on SWIFT because they would force oil exports down to zero", the source said.

The Schork Report editor Stephen Schork on USA oil production and why he believes that the market has adjusted to the Iran sanctions.

In the first three weeks of October, Iran's crude and condensate exports averaged around 1.90-1.95 million bpd according to Platts ship tracking data, but exports could be even higher due to the Iranian tactic to switch off tracking devices to hide some volumes and destinations of its oil exports, sources say.

Despite the surge in output, concerns lingered as Washington is set to impose its sanctions against Iran's petroleum exports from next week. One is high oil prices, and in many countries they're directly related to consumer prices.

The end-of-week bounce wasn't enough to offset losses earlier in the week as speculation mounts that supply is exceeding expectations.

Iran said it does not fear the impending USA sanctions that are set to go into effect next week.

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Hours before he spoke, Iranian President Hassan Rohani warned Iranians they could face more economic hardship in the months ahead as the USA imposes a new round of sanctions.

"We think Trump will agree to China importing some volumes, similar to the treatment that India and South Korea receive", he said. It began clearing the dues in 2015 when the restrictions were eased.

"Our goal remains to get to zero oil purchases from Iran as quickly as possible". However, Essar-Nyara, sources said, has been buying some Iranian oil on the spot market. The US sanctions have driven away Indian and worldwide shippers and insurers from extending their services for Iranian oil imports. In 2013-14 and 2014-15, India bought 11 million tonnes and 10.95 million tonnes respectively from it. Indian officials, in their discussions with U.S. counterparts have pointed out that first, Indian refineries are configured to work with Iranian crude, and second, Iran still offers better credit, insurance and freight terms to Indian buyers, which remains a key consideration.

Besides blocking of banking channels from November, the absence of payment mechanism may pose a challenge to the transportation of the oil as Iranian crude is bought on a CIF basis and shipped on Iranian tankers. The liability and costs associated with successful transit are paid by the seller until the goods are received by the buyer.

Refineries using Iranian oil have also faced insurance issues during renewals in recent months.

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