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)