January 7, 2019 / 1:47 PM / 6 months ago

India's BPCL to buy Iranian oil in Feb after 3-month gap - sources

NEW DELHI, Jan 7 (Reuters) - State-run Bharat Petroleum Corp will import 1 million barrels of Iranian oil in February after a gap of three months, with the nation’s overall purchases from Tehran remaining at 9 million barrels, three industry sources said.

The United States in early November granted India a six-month waiver from sanctions on Iran’s oil exports.

Under the agreement, New Delhi must restrict its Iranian oil purchases to 1.25 million tonnes, or 9 million barrels.

BPCL and Hindustan Petroleum Corp will lift 1 million barrels each of Iranian crude oil in February, the sources said. HPCL this month resumed purchases of Iranian oil after a gap of six months. The company halted Iranian oil purchases in July after its insurance company refused to provide cover for the crude because of U.S. sanctions, although its chairman said HPCL may resume buying Iranian oil under sanctions waivers.

Indian Oil Corp, the country’s top refiner, will lift 5 million barrels of Iranian oil in February, the same as this month. Mangalore Petrochemicals Ltd will buy 2 million barrels compared with 3 million barrels this month, the sources said.

An IOC official had previously said his firm would lift 180,000 bpd - the full volume contracted under an annual deal with Iran for this fiscal year ending March 31, 2019.

India recently exempted rupee payments to the National Iranian Oil Co (NIOC) for crude oil imports from a steep withholding tax, paving way for pending dues to be cleared.

HPCL, IOC and BPCL did not immediately respond to requests for comment, while MRPL declined comment. (Reporting by Nidhi Verma, editing by David Evans)

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