India's top buyer of Iran oil turns to Azeri, Saudi

July 16, 2012 16:31

NEW DELHI - India's biggest buyer of Iranian oil, MRPL, has bought Azeri, Saudi and Emirati crude to replace imports from Iran in July and it may halt purchases from Tehran altogether as sanctions make shipments more difficult, industry sources said on Monday.

Loss of exports to Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals (MRPL) would be a blow to Iran, which has seen overseas sales decline by more than half from a year ago due to U.S. and European Union sanctions.The sanctions against Iran's nuclear program, which the West thinks is aimed at making weapons, are meant to cut the country's oil revenues.

"MRPL has initiated steps to halt its imports from Iran. It is facing problems on a daily basis ... government pressure, sanctions and the latest is Iran's threat to shut the Strait of Hormuz," said one of the sources, The source declined to detail the steps MRPL was taking.

The refiner has been forced to restrict its lifting from Iran to a fifth of the planned 3.3 million barrels per day (bpd) in July.

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