India imported about 5 per cent more oil from Iran in the last fiscal year through March as companies raised purchases ahead of US sanctions against Tehran from November, preliminary tanker arrival data obtained from shipping and industry sources showed.
Despite Washington restricting India’s purchases from Tehran, refiners shipped in about 479,500 barrels per day (bpd) of Iranian oil in 2018/19 compared with about 458,000 bpd a year before, according to the data.
The United States introduced sanctions in November but gave a six-month waiver to eight nations, including India, which allowed them to import some Iranian oil.
India was allowed by Washington to continue to buy about 300,000 bpd oil until early May.
In March India’s oil imports from Iran rose to about 405,000 bpd, about 56 percent higher than February, the data showed.
A lack of ships delayed the lifting of some cargoes to end-February, leading to higher arrivals in March, sources said. BPCL could not lift cargo from Iran as a tanker was not available, a company source said.
India wants to keep buying Iranian oil at a level of 300,000 bpd, Indian sources said last month.
Refiners placed orders to buy 8 million barrels in April but India would receive higher volumes as some delayed cargoes of March arrive at Indian ports this month, according to Reuters.