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Barrelling Through

The US has only offered replacement of cargoes from Saudi Arabia to Indian refiners.
twitter-logo Anilesh S Mahajan   New Delhi     Print Edition: November 18, 2018
Barrelling Through

After ordering nine million barrels from Iranian suppliers, oil companies in India can't find domestic insurers to back the decision. The US has only offered replacement of cargoes from Saudi Arabia to Indian refiners. Saudi oil, however, is expensive and Iran is geopolitically important for New Delhi. As a result, Indian Oil and MRPL placed orders with Iran while Hindustan Petroleum, Reliance Industries, Bharat Petroleum opted for replacements.

This July, HPCL cancelled Iranian oil shipments when insurers refused to cover Iranian oil imports (processed or stored). Tehran has offered to ship oil in Iranian vessels and insure them. But there is no post-landing assurance it can provide. In that scenario, can New Delhi step up and offer a sovereign guarantee to insurers? With the Trump administration squeezing policy space, this looks like a tough call.

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