Iran General NewsINTERVIEW - MRPL trims '10/11 crude import deal with...

INTERVIEW – MRPL trims ’10/11 crude import deal with Iran

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ImageReuters: State-run Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd will reduce term crude imports from Iran by about 8.5 percent to 130,000 barrels per day (bpd) for the 2010/11 fiscal year that began on April 1, a senior company official said on Monday. By Nidhi Verma

ImageNEW DELHI (Reuters) – State-run Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd will reduce term crude imports from Iran by about 8.5 percent to 130,000 barrels per day (bpd) for the 2010/11 fiscal year that began on April 1, a senior company official said on Monday.

"Every year we review our crude basket. It has nothing to do with the prices. Last year we raised term contract with Iran and this year we have reduced it," L.K. Gupta, head of finance at MRPL told Reuters in a telephone interview.

MRPL is India's top importer of Iranian crude and buys Iran Mix and Iran Heavy varieties.

Iran has, however, raised the credit period offered to MRPL for crude oil sales to 90 days from 30 days in the previous fiscal year, Gupta said.

Sources earlier said India's top private firm Reliance Industries, owner of the world's biggest refining complex, has not renewed its term deal with Iran due to differences over pricing of crude.

Besides Iran, MRPL has term contracts with Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC) and Saudi Aramco.

While the proposed term volumes with Saudi Aramco have been maintained at last year's level of 22,000 bpd, MRPL's term deal with ADNOC has also been slashed by 8.7 percent to 27,400 bpd, Gupta said.

The firm buys mainly Murban crude from ADNOC.

MRPL, which runs a 236,400 bpd coastal plant in the Southern Karnataka state, aims to step up purchases from the spot market to over 20,000 bpd in the current fiscal to meet the shortfall.

"We will be importing more crude oil through spot markets. About 1-2 cargoes a month. This will be more than a million tonnes," Gupta said.

MRPL is expected to process 250,000 bpd of crude in the current fiscal year, flat versus a year ago, he added.

MRPL also plans to buy 40,000 bpd of low sulphur crude from state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp from its western offshore fields and 8,000 bpd from Cairn India-operated onshore block in western Rajasthan state.

Gupta said MRPL will continue to buy Sokol and Nile Blend crudes from its parent firm ONGC, but "volumes will depend on various factors like pricing and freight".

(Reporting by Nidhi Verma; editing by Malini Menon)

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