Indian oil imports from Iran plunged by 41 percent on the year to just over 300,000 bpd in December, roughly around the level of Iranian oil India is restricted to buy under the U.S. waiver, allowing it to continue importing oil from Tehran, according to ship tracking data reviewed by Reuters.
Compared to November, India’s oil imports from Iran increased by 9.4 percent in December after some cargoes had been delayed in November due to lack of tankers, according to the data.
In November, India’s oil imports from Iran dropped to a one-year-low, plunging by 41 percent from October due to the U.S. sanctions on Tehran’s oil. Iran also dropped to sixth place on India’s largest oil suppliers list, from fourth in October, losing market share to fellow OPEC members Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
In November, the month in which the U.S. sanctions snapped back, India’s oil imports from Iran averaged 276,000 bpd, as India had cut back significantly its allocations for November amid uncertainties over who might be getting a U.S. waiver to continue importing oil from Iran.
India did get a waiver, alongside seven other Iranian oil customers, including the single biggest, China. The waivers allow those eight countries to continue Iranian oil imports at reduced volumes until early May 2019. India’s allowed imports from Iran are about 300,000 bpd.
In November, Iran was only sixth among India’s top oil suppliers. Iraq and Saudi Arabia held the first two spots, while the UAE—sixth in October—moved up to third place, ousting Venezuela to fourth. Nigeria held onto its fifth position, but Iran moved from fourth in October to sixth in November, according to industry and ship-tracking data obtained by Reuters.
According to the December tanker tracking data reviewed by Reuters, Iran was India’s sixth largest oil supplier in December, too. In December 2017, Iran was the third biggest oil supplier to India. In December 2018, Iran’s market share in India’s oil imports plunged to 6.2 percent from 11.7 percent in December 2017, according to the tanker tracking data.