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India HPCL aims to buy about 99,000 bpd Iran oil in Aug

Date: 10-08-2012
Subject: India HPCL aims to buy about 99,000 bpd Iran oil in Aug
NEW DELHI, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Indian state-run refiner Hindustan Petroleum Corp plans to lift up to three Suezmax crude cargoes or about 99,300 barrels per day (bpd) oil from Iran this month, its executive director B. K. Namdeo said on Thursday.

India, which has secured a waiver from U.S. sanctions against Iran's disputed nuclear programme after cutting purchases, aims to lift at least 15 percent less of its oil in the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2013.

To skirt European sanctions that have hit insurance and reinsurance of Iranian shipments, India has offered a limited cover of about $100 million for Iranian imports, which local shippers have rejected saying it was inadequate.

The cover offered by state insurers for Iran shipments is a fraction of the $1 billion coverage that a supertanker carrying around 2 million barrels of crude would normally have from reinsurers.

India, Iran's second-biggest crude customer after China, is also giving permission to refiners on a case-by-case basis to import oil using Iranian vessels and insurance.

HPCL, which imported only one Suezmax cargo in July of the two planned, has won permission from the shipping ministry to import oil using Iranian tanker and insurance in August, Namdeo said.

One Suezmax carry around a million barrels of oil.

"The shutdown in Vizag is expected to be over by mid-August. But if that is extended, we may buy only two cargoes this month," Namdeo said.

HPCL's 60,000 bpd crude distillation unit (CDU) and a fluid catalytic cracker are shut for maintenance at the refiner's 166,000 bpd refinery in Vizag, in southern India.

HPCL has a deal to import 60,000 bpd oil from Iran in this fiscal year ending March 2013, including an optional purchase of 20,000 bpd. So far, HPCL has imported about 5 million barrels.

The state-run refiner began paying in rupees earlier this month to partly settle its oil trade with Iran.

HPCL also operates a 130,000 bpd plant in Mumbai, in western India, and has a stake in 180,000 Bathinda refinery in the northern Punjab state.

Source : in.reuters.com