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India poised to boost oil imports from Iran after Apr-Nov shipments slide

Nidhi Verma
Wednesday, 18 Dec 2013 | 6:22 AM ET

* India can import more Iran oil and yet get US sanctions waiver

* India's Jan-Nov Iran oil imports at 196,200 bpd, down 38.5 pct y/y

* Country's overall oil imports in Nov up 6.4 pct y/y

NEW DELHI, Dec 18 (Reuters) - India's oil imports from Iran fell 34.8 percent in April-November from a year ago despite a jump last month, giving New Delhi room to import more till March and still win another waiver of U.S. sanctions.

The U.S. State Department extended a six-month Iranian sanctions' waiver at the end of November to China, India, South Korea and other countries as a reward for them reducing purchases of Iranian crude oil earlier this year.

The waiver extension came after the United States and five other global powers, known as the P5+1, agreed in Geneva to pause efforts to reduce Iran's crude oil sales, allowing consuming countries to continue buying their "current average amounts of crude oil".

India shipped in about 176,000 bpd in April-November, trade data made available to Reuters shows.

The world's fourth-largest oil importer intends to buy up to an average 220,000 bpd of oil from Iran in the year ending March 31, Oil Secretary Vivek Rae said last month.

That's consistent with a goal of cutting India's Iran oil shipments 15 percent this year to win waivers on U.S. sanctions.

India's oil shipments from Iran rose 13 percent in November from October to 219,700 bpd triggered by higher imports at Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL), the data shows.

MRPL began receiving fully loaded suezmax vessels at its recently commissioned single point mooring after getting full cover from a local insurer.

Last month, MRPL received two suezmaxes of Iranian oil at its crude handling facility. It is not clear which company reinsured the facility.

November imports were about 0.6 percent less than the 221,100 bpd shipped in a year ago.

Overall oil imports from Iran in January-November fell by 38.5 percent to 196,200 bpd from 318,800 bpd in the same period last year, the data shows.

India imported about 34 percent more oil from Latin America in the first eleven months of the year as the Iranian shipments dropped. Crude imports from Iraq over the same period increased by 21 percent.

Overall, Asia's third-largest economy shipped in 6.4 percent more oil in November than a year ago, while imports for the January-November period rose about 8.3 percent, the data showed.

(Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)