|India Essar's July Iran oil imports rise 37%||
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Essar Oil, the only private refiner in India that buys Iranian oil, has raised imports of oil from Tehran by a third in July compared with June and about 37 percent from a year ago, according to tanker discharge data made available to Reuters.
Essar has renewed its term deal with Iran to buy 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) oil in 2012/13 (April-march) but plans to cut purchases by 15 percent after a verbal directive by the government. However, the refiner has shipped in an average 104,000 bpd since April.
Essar, which earlier this year expanded its Vadinar oil refinery in western Gujarat state to process 400,000 barrels per day (bpd), has significantly raised processing of heavy and ultra heavy grades, including those from Latin America, to improve refining margins.
The refiner is in an annual deal with Colombia's Ecopetrol to import 12 million barrels of Castilla crude oil.
Essar imported about 152,300 bpd oil in the Iranian very large crude carriers Motion and suezmax Castor, becoming the biggest Indian buyer from the Islamic Republic in July. It replaced Mangalore Refineries and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL), whose imports were hit as Iran does not have enough aframaxes to suit the Indian firm's needs and European sanctions have hit availability of vessels from others.
Essar got nearly 45 percent of its crude imports from Iran in January-July.
Overall imports by Essar rose over 23 percent during January-July to 287,300 bpd, the data shows. No comment was available from Essar.
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