India's IOC aims to cut oil imports from Iran by 23.4 pct in 2013/14-Minister

Last Updated: Tue, Aug 06, 2013 13:00 hrs

NEW DELHI, Aug 6 (Reuters) - Indian Oil Corp, the country's biggest refiner, aims to import 23.4 percent less oil from sanctions-hit Iran in the fiscal year to March 2014 compared with a year earlier, Indian oil minister M. Veerappa Moily said on Tuesday.

India's imports of Iranian crude more than halved in June from a year earlier, dropping to 140,800 barrels a day (bpd), tanker data obtained by Reuters showed this month.

U.S. and European Union sanctions aimed at pressuring Iran over its suspected pursuit of nuclear weapons are costing it billions of dollars in revenue since the start of 2012. U.S. lawmakers want to toughen them further, with the goal of reducing Iran's oil shipments to 500,000 bpd or less.

IOC imported 31,320 bpd or 1.566 million tonnes in the fiscal year ending March 31, and entered into a term deal with Tehran to buy 24,000 bpd in this fiscal year, Moily told lawmakers in a written reply.

He said IOC imported about half of the contracted volumes in April-June costing $429 million.

IOC's imports from Iran in the last fiscal year ended March were valued at $1.26 billion, of which $653 million were paid in rupees and $415 million were settled in euros, he said.

Indian refiners were paying for 45 percent of their Iran oil imports in rupees through a local bank, while the remainder was settled in euros through Turkey's Halkbank.

Payments through Turkey were halted in February due to pressure from the US sanctions, leading Indian refiners to hold back 55 percent of their oil payments to Iran, while continuing with the rupee mechanism for the remainder.

IOC has to pay $194.31 million for Iranian oil purchases made in 2012/13 and about $236 for 2013/14, the minister said.

(Reporting by Nidhi Verma; Editing by Prateek Chatterjee)

More from Sify: