Iran General NewsIndia's Reliance no longer buying Iranian crude

India’s Reliance no longer buying Iranian crude


ImageReuters: India's Reliance Industries has stopped oil trade with Iran, a senior company executive said on Wednesday. By Stanley Carvalho

ImageABU DHABI, Oct 14 (Reuters) – India's Reliance Industries has stopped oil trade with Iran, a senior company executive said on Wednesday.

The move further isolates the Islamic Republic as the United States and its allies seek to halt Tehran's nuclear programme.

Reliance, owner of the world's biggest refining complex, has stopped buying crude feedstock from Iran, and no longer sells gasoline to the Islamic Republic, Maurice Bannayan, senior vice president at Reliance Industries, told Reuters.

"We do not import crude from Iran, we used to… it is not political. We look for cheap oil, we import from Venezuela and other countries," he said on the sidelines of an industry event.

"No, all our exports of gasoline goes to the U.S.," he said, when asked if Reliance-refined fuel was shipped to Iran.

The decision to stop buying crude from Iran could be recent. In August Reliance imported 112,280 barrels per day (bpd) of crude from Iran, according to shipment data available to Reuters.

The last time Reliance shipped gasoline to Iran was in May, according to oil traders.


Reliance's move to freeze oil trading ties with Iran comes as no surprise to traders particularly with the increased pressure coming from the United States and its allies looking to target companies selling oil to Iran.

"If true then this is a sign that the muscle of the West is beginning to work," said an Asia-based crude oil trader.

"Reliance has ambitions to establish its market share for its fuel products in the United States, I think whatever they say they want to make sure they don't jeopardise that plan."

The Indian refiner is negotiating to acquire refinery and petrochemical units in the U.S. and Europe and could finalise a deal by end-2009, Bannayan said.

"We are in advanced talks with looking at refinery and petrochemical units for acquisition in the U.S. and Europe, mostly in the U.S.," Bannayan said, adding Reliance was also boosting capacity at its new export refinery in Jamnagar to 720,000 BPD in the next six to eight months.

The United States and its allies are eyeing drawing up tougher sanctions to target Iran's gasoline and diesel imports.

These sanctions would be aimed at forcing Iran to cease its nuclear programme, which the West suspects is seeking to develop nuclear weapons.

But Tehran insists it is not and has dismissed the threat, saying previous sanctions against it had been ineffective.

Iran is the world's fifth-largest crude oil exporter but lacks the refining capacity to meet its domestic fuel needs and has to import about 40 percent of its gasoline requirements. (Additional reporting by Nidhi Verma in New Dehli; editing by James Jukwey)

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