Iran is pushing to retain its oil customers in Asia, offering better terms than other Middle Eastern suppliers, including Saudi Arabia, even as the threat looms of potential further US sanctions on the OPEC member, Reuters reported.
Tehran recently deepened freight discount to firms in India — its second-biggest oil client after China — in return for higher volumes.
In the current fiscal year to March 2019, state refiners Indian Oil Corp., Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd., Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum plan to import 396,000 barrels per day (bpd) Iranian oil, according to two sources familiar with the plans who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Four other sources had knowledge of the import plans of some of the refiners.
Indian Oil Corp., Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum declined to comment.
All four refiners imported about 205,600 bpd Iranian oil in the previous fiscal year.
Iran, which used to be the second-biggest oil supplier to India before sanctions, has gradually been getting back its market share in New Delhi since the lifting of sanctions against the Islamic state in 2016, becoming the No. 3 supplier to India in 2016-17 after Saudi Arabia and Iraq, government data showed.
Official government data for 2017-18 is not yet available but information from sources showed Iran remained the third-biggest oil exporter to India during April 2017-February 2018, while Iraq replaced Saudi Arabia as top supplier.
However, in February, India's Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, after a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Bijan Namdar Zanganeh in New Delhi, said state-refiners will boost purchases in the current fiscal year.