|India to insure refiners importing Iranian crude oil||
An Indian government source says New Delhi will provide insurance coverage for Indian refineries that import crude oil from Iran in defiance of US-led sanctions against the Iranian energy sector.
“Oil is as basic as food. Just as you need food, you need oil,” Reuters quoted the source as saying on Wednesday.
One day earlier, India’s state-owned refiner Hindustan Petroleum Corp Limited (HPCL) had expressed concern that it might have to stop using Iran’s oil if insurers did not renew contracts on its plants due to the sanctions.
“As long as it is for Indian consumption, why shouldn't we?” the source asked.
A top oil buyer from Iran, energy-thirsty India has already organized emergency cover for vessels carrying crude oil from Iran.
Indian refiners HPCL, Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited (MRPL) and Essar are the main clients of Iranian crude oil.
Earlier this month, the United States imposed new sanctions on Iran’s energy sector in an attempt to force the Islamic Republic to halt its nuclear energy program.
The sanctions, which took effect on February 6, prevent Iran from gaining access to earnings garnered from its crude exports.
The sanctions require importing countries to keep their payments at home and only release them in return for purchase of goods from them by Iran, to effectively lock up Iranian oil revenues overseas.
The US has spearheaded several rounds of Western sanctions against Iran in recent years, based on the unfounded accusation that Iran is pursuing military objectives in its nuclear energy program.
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