Indian MPs question govt over stopping crude oil imports from Iran

Government of India has faced questions from members of parliament on reports that it has asked state-owned refiners to get ready to stop importing crude oil from Iran in the face of pressure from the United States.

A question from Lok Sabha MPs Supriya Sule and Mullappally Ramachandran sought to know “whether the Government has asked the refiners to prepare for a drastic reduction or zero imports of Iranian oil from November this year on the call by the United States of America..”

The answer given by Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan to the above question is as follows:

“On 8th May 2018 , the USA announced that it is walking out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran and released a Frequently Asked Questions regarding the re-imposition of sanctions on entities engaged with Iran, including import of crude oil from Iran.”

The MPs also asked whether “the Government has asked the refiners to find out alternative to Iranian oil and ensure energy security and also initiated negotiation with other countries” in this regard.

To this, Pradhan replied as follows: “Indian refineries import crude oil from diverse sources including Iran, depending on technical and commercial considerations.”

The United States has asked India to stop importing oil from Iran and weapons from Russia, which is India’s biggest supplier of weapons.

The government has not made it clear whether it intends to obey the directive of the US, conveyed by US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley on her recent visit to India.

The government is liable to give complete and truthful answers to queries by members of parliament. MPs can ask supplementary questions if they feel that the government is trying to evade their query or has given an incomplete answer.

IMPORT STATISTICS

Pradhan also revealed that India imported about 9.8 million tons of crude oil from Iran in the year ended March 2018, down from 13.04 mln tons in the previous year.

The decline was in proportion to the jump in imports from Iran’s neighbor Iraq, which has rapidly scaled up production in recent years.

In the year ended March, India imported 29.66 million tons from Iraq, up from 24.79 mln tons.

It also increased imports from Kuwait last year, taking it to 11.37 mln tons from 7.93 mln tons in 2016-17.

Imports from Saudi Arabia have been largely static at around 18-19 mln tons. Imports from UAE fell to 9.95 mln tons in FY18 from 11.96 mln tons the preceding year.

You can read the full question and answer here

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