India’s oil imports from KSA rise by 32% after Iran curbs

India is now importing the bulk of its oil requirements from India. (SPA file photo)
Updated 28 June 2019
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India’s oil imports from KSA rise by 32% after Iran curbs

  • Saudi Arabia has become the second-largest crude supplier to India
  • KSA has become the second-largest crude supplier to India

NEW DELHI: India’s oil imports from Saudi Arabia have jumped by 32 percent after US sanctions against Iran came into effect, making Riyadh the second-largest crude supplier to the South Asian republic.

According to data released by the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics (DGCI&S), a Kolkata-based organization associated with the Indian Ministry of Commerce, the dwindling supply of crude oil from Iran has seen an increase in imports from Iraq, Saudi Arabia, the US and Nigeria.

Imports from Saudi Arabia reached 3.55 million tons (MT) in May this year compared to 2.68 last year, the report said. At the same time, crude supply from Iran went down to 0.56 MT from 3.13MT. Iran was the third-largest importer of oil to India.

“Imports from other Middle Eastern countries have increased by 30-40 percent after we replaced crude from Iran. Middle Eastern countries present logistic advantage, that’s why their choice was logical,” said R. Ramachandran, director (refineries) of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), a leading oil company owned by the Indian government.

“I cannot tell you the exact percentage but we have replaced Iranian crude with Saudi (crude) and some other countries,” Ramachandran told Arab News.

New Delhi was compelled to cut off imports from Iran after the Trump administration imposed sanctions on Iranian oil exports.

India was one of eight countries given a waiver from the US to import oil from Iran, but the waiver expired on May 2.

The issue of the ban on Iranian imports has been one of the sour points in the relationship between India and the US.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tried to address the issue by assuring New Delhi of adequate oil supply from the US during his visit to India on Wednesday.

“We’re doing everything we can to ensure that you have adequate crude imports. We appreciate your help in pushing these regimes to behave like normal countries,” Pompeo said in a speech in New Delhi on Wednesday evening.

“You’ve made hard choices to cut off oil imports from Iran, and move away from purchasing Venezuelan oil. We know these decisions weren’t without cost,” he said.

Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar told reporters after the interaction with his US counterpart: “I underlined the importance of stability, predictability and affordability in terms of India’s energy imports.”

He also said that the US is “very receptive” to India’s concerns about its global energy supplies.

BPCL chief Ramachandran said: “We have more opportunities available to import oil from the US, which is working out to be more economical than we expected.”

News reports quoting a spokesperson from the Indian petroleum ministry said that New Delhi had stopped importing oil from Iran.

Madhu Nainan, an editor of Petrowatch, a leading news portal on the Indian oil industry, said: “India has found alternative sources of crude supply, most importantly the USA and some of the Middle Eastern countries — a prominent one being Saudi Arabia.”

“Saudi Arabia being in a neighboring region means it is able to supplant oil from Iran. Besides, the growing bonhomie between the two nations also adds value to the relationship,” Nainan told Arab News.


Lebanon’s Jammal Trust Bank forced to close by US sanctions

Updated 19 September 2019

Lebanon’s Jammal Trust Bank forced to close by US sanctions

  • Jammal Trust Bank is accused of helping to fund the Hezbollah movement in Lebanon
  • The bank has 25 branches in Lebanon and representative offices in Nigeria, the Ivory Coast and Britain

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s Jammal Trust Bank has been forced to wind itself down after being hit last month by US sanctions for allegedly helping to fund the Iran-backed Hezbollah movement, the bank said on Thursday.
The central bank said the value of the bank’s assets, and its share of the national deposit guarantee body, were “in principle enough to pay all deposits and commitments.”
Jammal Trust Bank denied the US allegations in August after the bank and its subsidiaries were hit with sanctions, accused of helping to fund the Hezbollah movement in Lebanon.
“Despite its sound financial situation ... and its full compliance with banking regulations, the (bank) was forced to take the decision to liquidate itself in full coordination with the central bank,” Jammal Trust said in a statement.
The bank has 25 branches in Lebanon and representative offices in Nigeria, the Ivory Coast and Britain, its website says.
It is a relatively small lender, with net assets of 1,600 billion Lebanese pounds ($1 billion) at the end of 2017, according to the annual report on the latest year for which data is available.
Washington has sought to choke off Hezbollah’s funding worldwide, with sanctions among a slew of steps against Tehran since US President Donald Trump withdrew last year from a 2015 international nuclear deal with Iran.