Indian refiners, anticipating a lifting of US sanctions, plan to make space for the resumption of Iranian imports by reducing spot crude oil purchases in the second half of the year, company officials told Reuters.
The world’s third largest oil consumer and importer halted imports from Tehran in 2019 after former US President Donald Trump withdrew from a 2015 accord and re-imposed sanctions on the OPEC producer over its disputed nuclear programme.
US President Joe Biden’s administration and Iran have been involved in indirect talks to revive the pact for Tehran to curb its nuclear activities in exchange for a lifting of sanctions.
Analysts expect Iran to ramp up crude exports to 1.5 million barrels per day in the fourth quarter when sanctions are lifted. India, used to be Iran’s second biggest oil client after China, buying as much as 480,000 bpd in the fiscal year beginning April 2018.
Several Indian state refiners, whose refineries are suited to the crude, have committed to buy Iranian oil once sanctions are lifted.