Feb 25 2012
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India's New Tanker To Ship Iranian Crude
India's largest refiner has chartered a tanker to enable the South Asian country to import more crude oil from Iran.
The Indian Oil Company has booked the Mykonos Warrior, currently sailing in the Indian Ocean, to ship more than 130,000 metric tons of Iranian crude to Mundra on India's west coast in March, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.
The Liberia-flagged vessel is reportedly expected to arrive in Iran's Kharg Island on March 9, 2012.
India purchases around $12 billion worth of Iranian crude every year, about 12 percent of its total consumption. In January, Iranian crude exports to India rose to 550,000 barrels a day, up 37.5 percent from December 2011.
New Delhi's growing interest in expanding its trade ties with Tehran comes as the Western powers recently adopted fresh sanctions against Iran's oil and financial sectors, and have ever since sought to pressure other countries to follow suit.
On December 31, 2011, the United States imposed new sanctions against Tehran, aimed at preventing other countries from importing Iran's oil and doing transactions with its Central Bank.
European Union foreign ministers also approved sanctions against Iran's oil and financial sectors on January 23, including a ban on Iranian oil imports, a freeze on the assets of the country's Central Bank within EU states, and a ban on selling diamonds, gold, and other precious metals to Tehran.
Many observers believe that India will press on with its plan to increase trade ties with the Islamic Republic despite the fresh Western sanctions.
Meanwhile, Tajikistan's Ambassador to Tehran Dolat Ali Hatamov announced his country's readiness to buy crude oil from the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Speaking at a press conference in the capital Tehran on Thursday, Hatamov said that even though most of Tajikistan's oil demand is met by crude from Russia, Dushanbe is ready to import crude oil from Iran.
Referring to the 5-km Anzab tunnel project jointly underway by Iran and Tajikistan, Hatamov said that the Islamic Republic has achieved a 90 percent progress in constructing the tunnel that will, upon completion, connect Dushanbe to Khujand in northern Tajikistan.
The Tajik official also emphasized the necessity of building a pipeline between Iran and Tajikistan in order to transfer Iran's oil to different parts of the Asian country.
Iran's Oil Ministry announced on February 19 that it had cut oil sales to British and French firms in response to an embargo by the European Union on Iranian oil.
The sanctions will become fully effective on July 1, 2012, to give EU member states enough time to adjust to the new conditions and find alternative crude oil supplies.
Iran's total in-place oil reserves have been estimated at more than 560 billion barrels with about 140 billion barrels of extractable oil.
Moreover, heavy and extra heavy varieties of crude oil account for roughly 70-100 billion barrels of the total reserves.
It holds the world's third largest proven oil reserves and the second-largest natural gas reserves.
It is OPEC's second largest oil producer and the fourth crude oil exporter.
In recent years, Iran has gradually been moving towards becoming a major exporter of refined oil and petrochemical products with significant success.
Earlier, Oil Minister Rostam Qassemi said the country's oil has been sold four months in advance and the Iran will face no problems even if European sanctions are imposed.
"I think it is unlikely that global oil markets would ignore Iran's oil because this would create problems for them," he told IRNA.
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