Official figures show India’s imports of crude oil from Iran hit a record high in 2016 as some refiners resumed purchases after the lifting of sanctions against Tehran.
Figures released by Reuters show that India purchased about 473,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil from Iran to feed expanding refining capacity. The figure was two times higher than that of last year at 208,300 bpd.
The report added that the sharp increase in Iran’s imports of oil from Iran propelled the country into the fourth place among New Delhi’s suppliers in 2016, up from seventh position in 2015.
Iran used to be India's second-biggest supplier before sanctions, but later plunged to the seventh place as refineries slowed purchases of Iranian oil due to sanctions.
The US-led sanctions against Iran restricted the country’s oil exports to around 1 million barrels per day (mb/d) among other restrictions already described as the toughest in modern history.
The sanctions were lifted last January after a nuclear deal that Iran had sealed with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany – the so-called P5+1 – came into effect.
Based on the deal, Iran restricted certain aspects of its nuclear energy activities in return for the removal of certain economic sanctions – including those that banned the exports of crude oil.
Reuters further added that imports of oil from Iran by the world’s third biggest oil consumer in December trebled from a year earlier to about 546,600 bpd.
Indian refiners Reliance Industries, Hindustan Petroleum, Bharat Petroleum and HPCL-Mittal Energy Ltd (HMEL) last year resumed imports from Tehran, attracted by the discount offered by Iran, the report added.
In April-December, the first nine months of this fiscal year, Iranian supplies to India averaged a record 530,300 bpd, up from about 400,000 bpd before sanctions tightened against Tehran.
India's 2016 Iranian oil imports were the highest in at least six years, according to the Reuters data.