NEW DELHI (AP)
Facing the threat of U.S. oil sanctions on Iran, India continued to rely on Iraq as its top oil supplier in the April-June quarter, followed by Iran and Saudi Arabia, the oil minister said Monday.
Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said India bought 7.27 million metric tons of oil from Iraq, 5.67 million tons from Iran and 5.22 million tons from Saudi Arabia during the three-month period.
India's state-run refineries bought 9.8 million tons of Iranian oil in financial 2017-18 compared to 13.04 million tons a year earlier, a nearly 25 percent decline. India's financial year runs from April to March.
India imported 29.66 million tons of Iraqi oil in 2017-18 compared to 24.79 tons a year earlier.
In a statement submitted to Parliament on Monday, Pradhan didn't say what steps India is taking in response to the U.S. sanctions on Iran, which are to come into force on Nov. 4.
"Indian refineries import crude oil from diverse sources including Iran, depending on technical and commercial considerations," he said.
The biggest importer of Iranian oil last year was China, accounting for 24 percent of Iran's oil exports. India purchased 18 percent of Iran's oil exports, according to the U.S. Energy Department.
In May, President Donald Trump announced the U.S. was leaving a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, in which sanctions on the country — including its energy sector — were eased in exchange for Tehran's agreement to roll back its nuclear program. His administration said the oil sanctions would go back into effect after a six-month grace period that expires Nov. 4.