Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) will resume sailing to Iran this month after a four-year gap, transporting an oil cargo for a state-run refiner, Vanguard reported.
SCI stopped sailing to Iran in 2012 when sanctions targeting Iran’s nuclear program prevented the company obtaining insurance cover for oil and other shipments, informed Hellenic Shipping News. Following the lifting in January of Western sanctions, International Group of Protection and Indemnity (P&I) Clubs, which generally insure the tanker market, have been able to obtain ‘fall-back cover’ from non-US markets.
In December, SCI will use one of its Suezmax-sized tankers to ship an oil cargo for state-refiner Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd. (HPCL) from Iran. Furthermore, SCI had contracts with HPCL, Bharat Petroleum Corp (BPCL) and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd. to ship crude from Iran.
HPCL’s Head of Refineries, B.K. Namdeo, said that HPCL will resume Iranian oil imports from July after three years because insurance was now available for plants processing Iranian oil. Similarly, BPCL’s Head of Refineries, B.K. Datta, confirmed it also planned to import an oil cargo from Iran in December, although it would use the Panama-flagged tanker ‘Vito’.
India’s Iranian oil imports are set to hit a seven-year high in the year from April 1, with refiners buying at least 400,000b/d. Iran currently supplies the bulk of its oil to India using its own vessels. Some Indian refiners such as Essar Oil and Reliance Industries have already begun importing Iranian oil in tankers flagged from other countries.