Mauritius seeks assurance on Iran oil imports

Written by Kirtika Suneja | Prashant Mukherjee | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 11 2012, 08:11am hrs
The rigorous restraints imposed by the US and European Union on Iran oil imports is casting a shadow on Indias relations with its trade partners as recently the state trading corporation (STC) of Mauritius wanted an undertaking from Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited (MRPL) assuring that India can continue to import oil from Iran.

According to senior commerce ministry officials, the STC has sought a certification from MRPL since the US has opened the window for for the company so that the shipping container traffic originating from Iran, as demanded by the EU, could continue.

Our trade partners are asking for a certification which we are not bound to give. The sanction is beginning to impact our exports. MRPLs stand is that it has reduced its term volume of Iranian cargoes for 2012-13 as the export has to be correlated to the contract between MRPL and STC Mauritius, said a commerce ministry official.

In 2011, India accounted for 23.4% of Mauritian imports. Indias export to Mauritius comprises largely of petroleum products as a result of the three-year agreement signed between the MRPL and the STC of Mauritius in July 2007 for the supply of petroleum requirements of Mauritius.

This agreement was renewed for a further period of three years in July 2010.

As part of the agreement, liquid petroleum products comprising Jet ATF, high speed diesel and furnace oil amounting to 1.1 million metric tonnes (MMT) per annum would be supplied.

There is no interruption in supply from Iran. We continue to import oil from Iran. We have not received any communication on this, said P P Upadhya, managing director MRPL.

The official added that the certification has been sought despite India's communication to the US that the country will reduce its dependence on Iranian crude.

Incidentally, MRPL which is the country's largest buyer of Iran crude oil, has reduced its oil imports to 5 million tonne this fiscal from 6.2 million tonne in 2011-12. MRPL bought around 7.1 million tonne of crude oil in 2010-11.