India’s Essar Oil almost doubled oil imports from Iran in December from the previous month, bucking the trend where Indian refiners have been importing less oil from the Islamic Republic.
Essar is owned by Russia’s Rosneft which completed a 98.3 percent acquisition of the Indian consortium under a $12.9-billion deal in August to carve out a foothold in Asia.
New data quoted by Reuters showed Essar took in 139,400 barrels per day (bpd) of Iranian oil in December, 16.5 percent higher than a year ago.
According to the report, the refiner shipped in about 21 percent less oil from Iran at about 134,000 bpd in 2017.
Essar’s lifting of more oil from Iran came after India imported nearly half as much crude from the Middle Eastern country in November as the month before.
The Indian government has reportedly ordered the country’s refiners to import less oil from Iran which refused to award a giant gas field at the very concessionary terms which New Delhi demanded.
Data for India’s total oil imports in December was not immediately available but the country took in 266,000 bpd of Iranian oil in November, which declined by 43 percent from October and 55 percent from a year ago.
However, Iran’s Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh has played down the fallout, saying that oil exports to India were moving ahead normally.
The Indians have been demanding special treatment on the offshore Farzad B gas field which they discovered in 2008, but Iran has refused to submit to the demands.
The US has also been looming large on the future of Iran’s oil trade with India. Increased output from US shale producers has been a major bug-bear for traditional oil producers and Asia has emerged on their radars as a new target.