India wants US sanctions waiver after cutting Iran oil imports

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Meanwhile, just days after it emerged that India was set to officially import 9 million barrels of Iranian oil in November, Reuters reported that a US government official had said the administration was considering waivers for some Iranian oil buyers.

The announcement, the first indication Washington was considering such waivers, followed a Reuters report that India planned to lift some Iranian oil in November although it has been cutting back on Iranian imports recent months.

Oil dropped below $83 a barrel on Monday, pressured by expectations that some Iranian oil exports will keep flowing after the US reimposes sanctions, easing a strain on supplies.

"We expect the global leadership to acknowledge India's need for Iran's oil", Pradhan said, adding that he wanted major oil producers like Saudi Arabia to raise production.

But Iran, OPEC's third-largest producer, has repeatedly said that its oil exports can not be reduced to zero because of high demand levels in the market and has blamed Trump for an oil price rally caused by imposing sanctions on Tehran.

On Monday, Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said a claim by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that the Kingdom could replace Iran's crude exports was "nonsense".

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in India last month that the administration would consider waivers and that some buyers of Iranian oil would take a "little bit of time" to unwind their trade with Iran.

Pradhan reportedly said Monday that India does not know if it would get a waiver from the U.S. She said the sanctions that would come into force on 4 November were created to bring Tehran to book and not to penalise India, which meets 83% of its crude oil requirements from outside. Of the 220.4 million metric tonnes (million MT) of crude oil imported by India in 2017-18, about 9.4% was from Iran.

Brent crude prices are now hovering around US$86 a barrel and global traders are betting that they will go past US$100. To this, taxes at the central and state levels are added, besides dealers' commission, to arrive at the retail price.

The government last week effected a Rs 2.50 per litre cut in prices of petrol and diesel to ease inflationary pressure and boost consumer confidence.

Indian Oil Corporation Chairman Sanjiv Singh said on Monday the company has recently made some payments for Iranian oil in rupees.

Drillers cut two oil rigs in the week to Oct 5, bringing the total count down to 861, energy services firm Baker Hughes said in its weekly report on Friday.

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