NEW DELHI India’s oil imports from Iran fell 3.5 percent in May from the previous month as Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd cut purchases because of the shutdown of some units at its plant.
Indian refiners took about 379,200 barrels per day (bpd) of Iranian oil in May, down 13,700 bpd from the 392,900 bpd imported in April, according to preliminary tanker arrival data from trade sources and ship-tracking services on the Thomson Reuters terminal.
May shipments were 3 percent higher than the 368,000 bpd taken in during the same time a year ago, the data showed.
Last month, MRPL shut a 60,000 bpd crude distillation unit, a coker and a diesel hydrotreater, along with some other units because of an acute water shortage in the state of Karnataka where its refinery is located. This caused MRPL’s imports of Iranian crude to drop to 58,000 bpd from about 110,200 bpd in April.
While dipping last month, India’s oil imports from Iran are expected to surge in the coming months when refiners Hindustan Petroleum Corp and Bharat Petroleum Corp begin lifting Iranian oil.
The nation’s state-owned and private refiners together are expected to buy at least 400,000 bpd in the year that began April 1, a seven-year high, industry sources said early last month.
In the first two months of this fiscal year, Indian refiners shipped in about 386,000 bpd of Iranian oil, a jump of 21.8 percent from a year ago, the data show.
In May, Essar Oil continued to be the biggest Indian importer of Iranian oil, taking about 190,000 bpd. Reliance Industries Ltd resumed imports from Iran after skipping them in April, taking about 100,000 bpd.
Reliance resumed imports from Iran in March after a gap of about six years.
Indian Oil Corp shipped in about 31,000 bpd of Iranian oil last month.
In the first five month of 2016, India’s Iranian oil imports have surged about 64.5 percent to 334,100 bpd, the data showed, in comparison with 203,100 bpd in the same period last year.
(Reporting by Nidhi Verma; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)