New Delhi: With reports indicating that India would stop importing Iranian oil altogether from next month to escape US sanctions following the US decision to stop waivers against sanctions Iranian oil imports, the government on Tuesday said it is prepared "to deal with the impact of this (US) decision".
There were reports, that "a robust plan for an adequate supply of crude oil to Indian refineries" is in place, indicating that New Delhi may have firmed up plans to import additional oil from countries like Saudi Arabia.
The US had earlier given six-month waivers to eight countries, including India, from the November 4 deadline last year to stop Iranian oil imports completely.
Now India is bound to be worried over the implications that any move to stop Iranian oil imports may have on the strategic Chabahar port development project in Iran which provides India with sea-land connectivity to Afghanistan.
According to news agency reports, India will stop importing crude oil from Iran from May and will use alternate supply sources such as Saudi Arabia to make up for the lost volumes. "Until the waivers are not restored back, I don't think India can buy oil from Iran. We will stop importing oil from Iran," a top official was quoted as saying.
Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan in a tweet said "a robust plan for an adequate supply of crude oil to Indian refineries" is in place. "There will be additional supplies from other major oil-producing countries; Indian refineries are fully prepared to meet the national demand for petrol, diesel & other petroleum products," he said.
The oil ministry too in a statement said a plan was in place to ensure supplies of crude oil from May when the waiver ends.
Indian Oil Corporation Chairman Sanjiv Singh said refiners import crude oil from a wide range of sources and had been lining up alternate supplies for the past few months. "We have alternate sources lined up to make up for any shortfall," he said.
"We have optional volumes (over and above the term contracts) from a number of suppliers, which we can exercise to make up for any shortfall from Iran," Singh said.
"We can also go to the spot (or current) market to source crude." As far as Indian Oil is concerned, supplies will not be a problem. We have already lined up alternate sources," he said, adding the impact of the US decision may reflect on global oil prices, which may temporarily go up.
The MEA spokesperson said, "The government has noted the announcement by the US government to discontinue the Significant Reduction Exemption to all purchasers of crude oil from Iran. We are adequately prepared to deal with the impact of this decision.”