US Sanctions On Iran Lifts India Appetite For Nigeria Crude

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Yemisi Izuora 

India’s crude oil demand from Nigeria has distended rapidly after it ceased crude oil imports from sanctions-hit Iran.

A fresh data from the country’s commerce ministry showed that India has ramped up shipments from Nigeria, Venezuela, USA, Iraq and United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Overall, the country’s crude oil imports in June declined 13 per cent to 16.9 Million Tonne (MT). In the three months ended June, oil imports dropped 2.29 per cent to 55.4 MT.

While oil imports from Iran ceased in June, imports rose 82 per cent from Nigeria, 26 per cent from Venezuela, 96 per cent from USA, 12 per cent from Iraq and 66 per cent from the UAE. 

Interestingly, while the government-owned oil marketing companies (OMCs) have stopped crude oil imports from Venezuela in the light of US sanctions, private refiners continue to import crude oil from that nation.

“Government-owned OMCs have stopped importing oil from Venezuela since US announced sanctions on the country’s oil company PDVSA. However, it seems that private companies continue to import Venezuelan crude either directly or indirectly,” an executive from one of the three government-owned OMC requesting anonymity told ETEnergyWorld.

According to data published by the commerce ministry, Nayara Energy-owned Vadinar Port received 1.45 MT of Venezuelan crude oil in the first three months of the current financial year as compared to 0.55 MT handled in the corresponding period last year.

Similarly, Sikka port which primarily receives and evacuates petroleum and petrochemical products for RIL’s Jamnagar refinery, handled close to 1 MT of Venezuelan crude oil in the three months ended June 2019 as against 1.32 MT handled in the same period last year.

The RIL’s port located in Jamnagar’s Special Economic Zone (SEZ) handled close to 1.27 MT of Venezuelan crude oil in the first three months of the current financial year, as compared to 1.74 MT handled in the corresponding period a year ago

The RIL had in April said it has purchased crude originating from Venezuela from companies such as Russia’s Rosneft in full knowledge of US authorities.

Overall, India’s share of crude oil imports from Middle Eastern countries decreased to 56.6 per cent of the total oil imports in the April-June 2019 period. 

The share of oil imports from African countries increased to 16.8 per cent in the first three months of the current financial year.

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