Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Monday said Indian companies will continue to import crude oil from Iran next month despite United States’ sanctions on Tehran coming into force from November 4.
“We do not know if we will get waiver [from US sanctions] or not,” Pradhan said while speaking at The Energy Forum in New Delhi. He said that India has its own energy requirements to fulfil. “We will be guided by our national interest,” he added.
Pradhan said two state refineries have made nominations to purchase Iranian oil in November. The Indian Oil Corporation and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals have ordered a total 1.25 million tonnes of crude.
In August, Trump reimposed economic sanctions against Tehran and said that anyone doing business with Iran would not be doing business with the US. The US expects all countries, including India, to reduce their Iranian oil imports to zero. However, the sanctions are not authorised by the United Nations and India traditionally only enforces sanctions endorsed by the world body.
Sanctions against Iran will block payment routes for India through the US dollar. Indian Oil Corp Chairman Sanjiv Singh said options for paying Iran are under discussions. “Even without sanctions also, Iran had been accepting payments in rupee,” Singh said, according to PTI. “So let us see how it evolves.”
Pradhan said he had urged Saudi Arabia’s oil minister to keep in mind the interests of oil consuming countries when it came to higher prices. He added that state-run oil companies must also look at taking measures to ease the burden of consumers. “The basic point is that they are all government companies,” Pradhan said, according to The Hindu. “Profitability is their motto, but public interest is also their responsibility.”